In a highly competitive job market the internet is an essential asset to your job hunting toolkit. The sheer number of job boards and recruitment websites make applications as simple as a click of a few buttons. However, it is all too easy to lose focus and discriminate less when applying for jobs – the scattergun approach. Not being as choosy about the type of job advert you respond to can leave you vulnerable to scams or identity theft.
Remember, it’s not just about a getting a company to hire you; it is also about you choosing an employer to work for. Think carefully about every advert before responding and be aware of the signs of a job scam:
It sounds obvious, but keep a record of jobs you have applied for, including the job advert. This is good practice anyway as you can refer to these documents if you are invited to interview. If you receive an email offer for a job you haven’t applied for, it’s a scam! Delete it.
Research the company
- Visit the company’s website. If they don’t have one, ask yourself why. Be wary of sites that redirect you to others. You may start on a “co.uk” site but be redirected to a “.com”
- Are the company address details vague? Is there a landline telephone number available or is it a 0845 number which could be anywhere?
- Be wary if the email address does not contain the name of the company, but just the name of a service provider such as Yahoo!, gmail or Hotmail
- Google it – Search by company name and see if it appears on sites other than their website, and why.
- Search “company name scam” to see if there is any reported scam activity
“Show me the money!” Read the job details carefully, particularly details on remuneration. Be wary of adverts offering vast sums of OTE earnings, or get rich quick schemes.
Poor English / grammar – a dead giveaway!
“No experience needed” – be suspicious of a highly detailed, specific skills job description followed by unusually low qualifications or “no experience” required.
DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY. For anything. Seriously. A legitimate employer will not charge to hire you.
Be wary of the details you provide in responding to an advert. The following are not required by employers but almost essential to scam artists and identity thieves. Do not include:
- Your date of birth
- Marital status
- Place of birth
- Only give your first and last name – middle names can help to identify your details
- Copies of birth certificate/passport documents
- Bank details
“This is not a scam/con” – means it almost definitely is!
Lastly, and most importantly, trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!