14 September 2016

Students and new grads targeted in online job scams

As the new term starts, students and graduates are warned to be wary of fake online job postings, or risk being fleeced £1000s.
online job scamsImage credit: Pascal – Flickr 
Online job scammers are targeting young people in search of work (and yes, the irony of choosing this target market would be hilarious if it wasn’t so awful!) robbing them of as much as £2,600 through fake admin charges and security checks.

SAFERjobs, an e-crime protection organisation and job site, CV-Library, have revealed that as much as one in every three online job scams involve students or fresh graduates, but despite the high risk only 17% of students are actually aware of the fact they could be getting targeted.

As current students look for new ways to make cash on the side of their studies, and new graduates pursue kick-starting their career, scammers are taking advantage of the willingness of young people to part with cash in order to secure an opportunity in what is an increasingly competitive job market.

Job scams aren’t the only online tricks students need to be wary of. Read our complete guide to protecting yourself online to avoid being a target.

The situation

scaredcatEarlier this year, SAFERjobs revealed that more than 800,000 suspicious postings have been reported in the UK in the last year alone, implying that just short of 300,000 have been targeted at students.

They also state that almost half of students who were targeted with fake job offerings ended up handing over cash – likely borrowed from parents, taken out as a loan, or taken from the student’s savings .

Lee Biggins of job site CV-Library has said:

Scammers are out there targeting a cohort that is unaware of the threats and potential impacts of job fraud. Our findings suggest that a large proportion of young people would not recognise what a job scam might look like and this is extremely concerning.

Look out for these warning signs

Stolen Bank Card Fraud
There are a few things you can look out for in order to suss out any suspicious job offers:

  • Spelling and grammatical errors in the job spec, as well as broken links
  • Personal email addresses such as [email protected] or [email protected]
  • Phrases like ‘your dream job’, a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ or ‘no experience necessary’ (but quotes an amazing salary). If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Skipping the interview process – why would you hire someone you’ve never spoken to?
  • Asking for cash up front for admin fees, background checks etc. Particularly if they ask for a ‘CRB’ (Criminal Records Bureau) check instead of a ‘DBS’ (Disclosure and Barring Service) check – CRB’s don’t exist anymore and have been replaced with DBS checks so this should sound some alarm bells.

This last one is a tough one, as some reputable companies do require background checks and training courses to be completed before starting a position. However, just be cautious in these circumstances, and if in doubt – report it!

You can report any dodgy-looking job postings you come across over on the SAFERjobs homepage.

Check out our part-time job search page – we have heaps of great job opportunities listed, and we can promise that none of them will leave you out of pocket!

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