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Protecting Yourself Against Recruitment Fraud

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Rebekah Valero-Lee Candidate Advice

If you’ve been listening to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) lately, you will have noticed that the Employment Minister Damian Hinds made an announcement at the end of July calling on recruiters to step up their game when it comes to tackling recruitment fraud.

The story barely made the national press – indeed among Donald Trump’s latest game of Russian Roulette and so many discussions on Brexit terms, the story hardly seemed worthy. Even the DWP themselves acknowledge that this is a “lesser-known crime”. But frighteningly, they also say that research shows as many as 1 in 10 jobseekers have been a victim at some stage in their career.

So how much of a problem is it and how do you avoid falling victim to recruitment fraud.

How does recruitment fraud work?

Recruitment fraud is simply when a person claims to be a recruitment agent and interacts with potential candidates (often on jobseeking websites) under the guise hiring them for jobs. Once the candidate is informed that they have been successful, usually following a telephone interview or similar detached interview method) they are asked to pay fees upfront. These can be anything from application fees, to visas, to security clearances. The reality is that there isn’t a job, and not long after your recruiter will simply disappear into thin air.

In October last year, an investigation uncovered that a man going by the name of John Phillips was charging candidates as much as £480 each in bogus ‘accreditation fees’ for jobs that ultimately didn’t exist. Through a series of false companies, the fake recruiter allegedly conned hundreds of jobseekers out of money that they should never have parted with.

Top Tips

Jobseekers come to recruiters because recruiters have knowledge, contacts and experience placing candidates in a variety of roles. Jobseekers trust recruiters because of this. Most of the time, this trust is valid and earned, but this reliance and trust can be as easily exploited by con-artists.

Here are some top tips for avoiding recruitment fraud – potentially saving you lots of time, money and helping you find that REAL dream job:

Be careful parting with money

You should be very careful about handing your own money over at any stage of the recruitment process. This includes security clearances, travel costs or general charges of any kind. While there are certain fees associated with such things as security clearance (and depending on the recruiter-client relationship this can be asked for in advance by the recruiter) you must double check everything before handing anything over.

Interview in person

It’s very easy to lie on a telephone. Make sure you organise a face-to-face meeting with your recruiter so you can speak to them directly. Also, a common scam is the use of premium phone lines which will charge the candidate large sums of money. Do it in person.

Keep personal details personal

A CV is a summary of your key professional achievements and experience, not a place for your national insurance number, bank details or passwords. If you put them on there, you risk rogue recruiters taking advantage. There are also things a recruiter will not need to ask of you – for instance, bank details for the payment of wages are not set up by recruiters.

Listen to your gut

Do a little bit of research around both the recruiter and their associated agency and the employer for which the vacancy is being recruited for. A lot of recruitment fraud can actually be obvious by paying attention to the details. If something doesn’t feel right, investigate. Pay attention to the look and feel of documents – poor spelling, for example, can be a sign that a document is fraudulent.

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