10 ways to avoid being tricked by a job scam

Using online recruitment agencies and websites is now the most common way that students and graduates find a job.

A man on his laptop

While most jobs that you see advertised online are real, fraudsters can make use of online advertisements to trick you into paying for something that doesn’t exist.

Scams come in many different forms, but the people who carry them out are always looking for new ways to make easy money. To detect a scam and avoid being tricked, here are 10 things to look out for:

1. Always do your research.

Type ‘name of the company’ + ‘scam’ into Google and see what comes up. Are they registered with Companies House? For VAT? Are they on mycareer? Check student forums to see if anyone else is talking about them or has experienced problems.

2. Does the offer sound too good to be true?

If so, it usually is. For example, being given a lot of money in return for doing very little may mask an attempt to defraud you, or involve you in illicit activity such as money laundering.

3. How does the company communicate with you?

Do emails contain correct spelling and grammar? Do their email or website addresses look genuine? Do they have a landline telephone? Did you have a proper face-to-face interview before being offered a job? If not, these could be indicators that the company isn’t genuine.

4. Are they asking you for money?

Any organisation that asks for money for training materials, certification or accreditation to secure a job is likely to be scamming you. No reputable organisation will require you to pay in this way to be placed in work, or ask you to buy them vouchers or phone cards.

5. Do you remember applying for the role?

Be wary of any unexpected email about a job you can’t remember applying for – especially if they seem to be offering you a job straight away. Record details of all vacancies you apply for so you are less likely to be caught out.

6. Does the advert ask or require you to call a premium rate number?

There is no reason for this other than to extract money from you. Legitimate businesses will have ordinary telephone numbers.

7. Have you been directed to different telephone numbers or websites from the one shown in the advert?

Or have you been told to talk to a different person or organisation? This may be done to hide a scam or a bad reputation.

8. Have you been asked for your financial details by email?

Never give details like your bank account, National Insurance number or passport number to any employer unless you are sure they are genuine.

9. Do not include unnecessary personal details on any CV you post online.

There is never any need to include your National Insurance number, your date of birth or your full address on a CV. This information can be a gift to identity thieves.

10. Don’t just apply to the first job you see.

Check out all the relevant vacancies on mycareer before applying. There will be other jobs and being familiar with real adverts will help you to spot a scam.

If you are in doubt about any advert you see:

And if you think you have been the victim of a scam advert – don’t panic!

Report it immediately to the Careers Service and to Action Fraud (the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre), who will be able to advise you on the steps you need to take to stay safe.