Jobseekers urged to be aware of 7 signs of job scams

Press release from the Disclosure and Barring Service

Jobseekers are being put on alert for the 7 signs of scams that could leave them out of pocket and at risk of identity fraud.

January and February are acknowledged within the recruitment industry as peak job search months[1] – providing prime opportunities for scammers to exploit.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is working with JobsAware to raise awareness of job scams that might lead people down the path of sharing identity details, and even their own money, in the mistaken belief they are in line for new employment. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

1. Poorly written job adverts

It is important that the job you are applying for sounds legitimate. It should include roles and responsibilities, desired experience, working hours and expectations, and salary. Job adverts that withhold basic information should be treated as suspicious.

2. Suspicious contact details

Are the contact details legitimate? Look out for a direct contact person or email address. Be wary if there is no point of contact linked with a job advert.

3. Unrealistic salary

Does the salary not seem to match the role? This could be a way of drawing you into a role that does not actually exist in order to gather personal information or bank details.

4. A job offer without an interview

Being offered a job automatically without having met a member of the hiring company is automatically a red flag. You should always ask to meet face-to-face or online with the hiring manager.

5. Being asked for money

Don’t ever send money before starting a job. This includes for training, uniforms, orDBS checks. These, in most instances, should be provided by the employer.

6. Illegitimate companies or illegitimate emails

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a company, you can check this using Companies House via GOV UK.

7. UK domains

If the domain is outside the UK, ensure to look into the company further. Online jobs can be legitimate but require extra vigilance.

Dr Suzanne Smith, Barring and Safeguarding Director for the Disclosure and Barring Service, said:

Job search trends show that the start of a New Year in January, and into February, see high numbers going online to find new employment opportunities. Often people can be keen in their pursuit of what might seem to be the perfect job on the surface, leaving themselves vulnerable to scams.

Taking some simple steps to spot potential job advert red flags could save you time, stress, money and a lot of heartache.

Keith Rosser, Chair of JobsAware, said:

Job scams continue to bring misery to people looking for work. In January we anticipate we will receive more than double the number of reports of monetary losses due to job scams when compared with December.

With the increase in remote job opportunities since the pandemic and the advance of technology making a lot of hiring virtual, it is increasingly easy for fraudsters to fool job seekers. In a recent JobsAware survey, 74% of jobseekers reported applying for at least one job they suspected did not exist.

It is important when applying for work to look out for the 7 tell-tale signs and, if in doubt, JobsAware provides free help and advice. If it seems too good to be true, that’s because most of the time it is.

If you suspect you have been targeted by, or have been the victim of a job scam, there are a number of ways to report this, including via the JobsAware portal. They will investigate and take further action, if necessary.

If you have parted with money as part of a suspected job scam, please contact the police and they will take the matter further.

Case studies

Case study one

Finchley applied for a job that was posted online and was asked to pay for a DBS check as part of the process. Upon paying for the DBS check, communication stopped, and Finchley realised he had been the victim of a scam.

Case study two

Naomi came across a job on an online job board, and as part of the application, provided her name, address, and a variety of scanned documents. She was then asked for money, and when she refused, communication stopped.

The full case studies can be found here: Job scams – case studies

[1] Source: Monster recruitment: