Online job searching peaks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with people looking for ways to fund the festive period. As the searches rise, so does the risk of falling victim to fraudulent job advertisements. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has recently put out a press release, warning about the signs potential job seekers should watch out for to avoid scams. Falling victim to one of these scams will involve you parting with money for a job which does not exist. DBS checks are a genuine pre-employment check for workers in many sectors, and the high level of awareness of the scheme is being used to exploit people who are desperately looking to boost their income.
The DBS has reported a 35% increase of job scams through 2023, with criminals cashing in not only on seasonal trends in the job market, but also on the larger cost of living crisis and rising prices to promote their scam job advertisements. Through 2023, internet searches for “extra money” rose by a staggering 219%, indicating the sheer number of people who wish to earn some extra cash, in addition to their main employment.
DBS and Jobs Aware
The DBS is working with Jobs Aware, a site providing advice to people caught up in scam job postings, to raise awareness of the most common scams around, and what applicants should be looking out for in order to spot when something is not quite right. They highlight the main “red flags” or warning signs to look out for as:
- Poorly Written Job Listings: If an advert is not grammatically sound and written in a professional manner, be suspicious, especially if it is supposed to be from a large company.
- Suspicious Contact Details: A professional job advert will list a website, email, or landline phone number for contact, not just a personal mobile phone number.
- Unusual Salaries: Know the going rate for a job. Unrealistic salaries are one of the most common features of scams.
- Interview-Free Job Offers: A job being offered without a formal interview process is a clear red flag – any reputable company is going to want to at least meet you first.
- Requests for Money: A proper employer will never ask you to divulge your bank details or send them money before starting a job.
- Dodgy Company Information: Look on the Companies House website to see whether the company you are dealing with even exists.
- Non-UK Internet Domain: Companies with domains outside the UK should always be treated with caution, unless applying for an explicitly international position.
If you are in the job market, take some time to think about the adverts you are responding to. Using reputable websites can help minimise the risk of being scammed but may not eliminate it entirely. Be aware of the tricks which scammers use when posting fake job adverts and be very wary of any posting which charges an administration fee or training fee. If in doubt, contact Jobs Aware for advice or guidance.