Fraud update from West Mercia Police economic Crime Unit

                                                  JOBSEEKERS WARNED OVER ONLINE SCAMS

Jobseekers are frequently turning to the internet to find job opportunities, however some fall prey to fraudulent advertisements, learn what to look out for.

There are various advance fee frauds which can happen when jobseekers are looking for employment. They can be duped into paying an upfront fee believing this is part of the application process when applying for a particular job.

One preferred method adopted by fraudsters is posting jobs online with companies offering this facility, and allowing the fraudster a legitimate platform of advertisement. This also provides a means of distancing themselves from law enforcement.

Jobseekers who respond to these advertisements are requested to pay up-front fees for administration services that include Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks. The fees vary and can range from as little as £16.00 or run into hundreds of pounds.

Preferred method of payment

A preferred payment request for these fees is by prepaid ‘e-money’ products such as Ukash, 3V, paysafecard vouchers.

The application forms are completed by a job seeker and as part of the process the        ‘e-money’ is requested.

The application form is then sent to the e-mail address provided. In some instances, jobseekers are advised that the payment was invalid or void and a payment processed again, therefore scamming the victim twice.

Generally jobseekers should not be expected to pay any fee to a perspective employer and if for any reason a request is made, jobseekers should be extremely cautious, regardless of the sum or payment method.

How to avoid being a victim of this type of fraud:

1. Check that the advertisement is genuine. – Search for the website of the Company using tools such as Google. Do not rely upon links provided in e-mails received from employers.

Carry out checks on telephone numbers on-line. The internet is a useful tool for identifying scams. Consider making telephone checks with potential employers using numbers identified from your own searches rather than any provided in the advertisement or subsequent e-mails e.g. Check telephone directories with respected providers.

2. Be aware of advertisements with e-mail addresses provided free (e.g. Hotmail, Gmail etc.) Whilst some smaller businesses may use e-mail facilities from these sources, this is much less common with larger businesses.

3. Be cautious if you are asked to pay up front fees. Some employers will require CRB checks and may expect job applicants to contribute to some or all of the cost.

Employers who make CRB checks are registered with the CRB. Useful guidelines on CRB checks are contained within the Directgov website within the section on “Starting a new job”. This website also includes details of a helpline and e-mail enquiry facility. These could be useful where doubts exist over the legitimacy of an advertisement. Typically a CRB check will cost £26 for a standard checks (£44 for an advanced check)

4. Be very cautious if you are asked to pay fees by e-money. E-money is equivalent to cash and allows the scammers easy access to the funds but often makes it very difficult to trace their identity.

5. Employers may need identification documents and bank account details. It is recommended that you do not provide these at application stage but wait until you are confident that the job is genuine and have been invited for interview.

Source: Action Fraud

·  STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

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