Online job scams and employment fraud are when jobseekers are under the pretence that they are in an application process but are instead being scammed into giving up their personal data, including bank account or credit card information.
In this way, criminals can conduct identity theft – gathering people’s personal information and then applying for loans or credit cards in their victims’ names. The Federal Trade Commission says employment fraud also occurs via phishing, whereby scammers use malicious links or websites to obtain the personal information of their victims.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has revealed that “85% of identity fraud is committed via online channels, and Cifas members recorded almost 158,000 cases of identity fraud in the first nine months of 2021. Not only is this an increase of 17% compared to 2020, but this is equivalent to one person every 2.5 minutes.”
As well as using online methods, perpetrators might conduct ‘interviews’ by phone and ask upfront for payment for certification or training materials before considering the applicant for a ‘job’, which often does not exist.
In a widescale study of 12,000 jobseekers by JobsAware (previously SAFERjobs), 71.3% of workers said they assumed that any job found online was a legitimate posting from a real business. A staggering 98% admitted they would still apply for a job even if they thought it was suspicious.
It is important that jobseekers remain vigilant when applying for jobs online.
Until you are sure of the credibility of a company that has contacted you about a potential job, do not give out personal information or financial information. Research the company – for example, look at their website, social media accounts, Companies House listing, any online reviews, etc. – to make sure that the job posting is real. Call the company’s phone number (if you find a number for them through your own research, rather than a number in the email or job posting) to verify that they sent an email or posted the job online.
Use caution when deciding on the information you include in your CV, as these details could be used in identity fraud. As a rule, do not include any of the following:
If you think you’re a victim of employment fraud, the first step is to cut all communication with the fraudulent party. Take note of their details and file a report with Action Fraud. If you have given any bank details, get in touch with your bank immediately.