Unfortunately, like many industries such as banking and retail, the recruitment sector is also a target for fraud - and technology advances mean it’s often impossible to identify the person behind the messages where people do fall victim of fraud.
That’s why it’s important to remain vigilant if you’re contacted out of the blue with an employment offer. We look at some of the ways you can check the messages or calls are genuine and how to stay safe when job hunting.
Scammers will typically use text messages, WhatsApp, or email to contact people – making it easier to operate without you hearing the sound of their voice.
If they’re operating from overseas, the language used may not be fluent English, or could come across as a little abrupt and unusual.
If they send links to websites, consider whether these look genuine. You can run a separate search online to check for a recruitment agencies website, to make sure it matches the link they’ve sent in the message.
They’ll often try and move at a fast pace to get you to share personal information or make a payment. Both are very unusual for recruiters to ask for over a text message. Typically, messages will only be sent by recruiters to initially reach out to you, due to their convenience. Then they’ll normally continue the conversation in person over the phone.
Requesting payment up front
Recruiters should never ask you to pay up front before you start working and won’t ask for personal details such as your bank details or National Insurance Number over a text message.
At NRL, for example, we’ll only ask for this kind of detail once we’ve spoken to you fully about the role and request your onboarding details to set you up for payroll – and this would never be sent by text or WhatsApp. So, if you’re being asked for payment or bank details during the initial discussion about the role, then it’s important to be alert and verify that the person is who they say they are.
Verifying the identity of a recruitment agency
Consider whether you’ve heard of this company before. If the name of the business or recruiter isn’t familiar to you it’s a good idea to check their authenticity.
Check the recruitment agencies website – Do they cover the sector or job role they’re contacting you about? Is the recruiter who’s contacting you a member of the team listed on the website? If you search for the job they’re talking about, can you find it on the website?
Reach out to the recruiter – If they did send you the message, then they certainly won’t mind you messaging them on LinkedIn or email to double check the message was genuine – it’s always better to be sure. You could also call their offices to verify any questions you may have.
If you do fall victim to a scammer, then you can find more information on what you can do next on the Citizens Advice website.