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21 August 2023

Stay safe! How to avoid scams when job-hunting

Stay safe! How to avoid scams when job-hunting

Without due diligence looking for a new role can be a risky business. Jobseekers are warned to be on their guard as rising numbers of fraudsters target those looking for work.

The rise in recruitment fraud creates a challenge for recruiters as scams regularly see recognisable agencies used to add credibility to illegal behaviour. Last year Which? identified employment scams as one of the 10 most common scam threats in the UK. Young people aged 18-24 are most likely to be targeted by this scam, according to Safer Jobs. Jobseekers have been conned into paying for registration fees and fake security checks, expensive training courses which don’t exist, and even CV services with illegitimate companies.

So what can you do to ensure you don’t fall victim to fraudsters when applying for new jobs?

Red flags - spot the signs that give away a fake job advert or phoney recruiter:

  • Poor spelling and grammar – be cautious of a job post riddled with errors.
  • Requests for money – if an ad requests an upfront fee, walk away. Scammers will often ask for e-money, as it is more difficult to trace.
  • A personal email address – Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo accounts are more typically for personal use, so be careful if you are contacted by this type of address. Every Acorn recruitment consultant will contact you via their Acorn email – firstname.surname@acornpeople.com
  • Can’t be found online – Check the ‘recruiters’ online presence, if you have a hard time tracking them down or there are inconsistencies among their profiles, they might not be the real deal. Legitimate recruiters are likely to have professional LinkedIn profiles.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is – scammers will often use attractive benefits in their job adverts, such as working from home posts, overseas opportunities and high salaries. 
  • Asks for sensitive information over the phone – our recruitment consultants will never ask you to share personal passwords or details of your banking.

Our advice for jobseekers:

  • Only use a reputable recruitment company which is a member of an industry association such as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. These organisations adhere to a strict set of standards and make it their business to protect job seekers and clients.
  • Do not part with any money when registering with a recruitment agency. A reputable agency will not expect payment from you in exchange for finding you a job, there are restrictions which prohibits most employment agencies and businesses charging work-seekers for this type of service.
  • Never include personal sensitive information such as your full address, passport number, bank details or national insurance number on your CV. It should only include an overview of your basic personal details, employment and academic history and skills.
  • If you are put forward for a role then ask for a detailed job specification, including pay rates, and research the company in question to ensure that it is genuine.
  • A reputable agency will not keep your original identity documents.
  • Before attending an interview, research the location to ensure it is not an abandoned building, always inform a friend or family member of the details of your interview location.
  • You should never let the interview take place in your own home or accept a lift from the person interviewing you.

If you believe you may have been targeted by an online recruitment scam illegally associated with Acorn, please contact us straight away.

Report online recruitment scam