Involving fake recruitment agents stating they wish to hire individuals or help set them up with employers, recruitment fraud is likely to affect 18 to 25 year olds more than any other age group. On average, those aged 23 are the most likely to become victims of job hunting scams.1
Ronald Noble, founder of RKN Global urges job seekers to be careful when interacting with recruiters. Some recruitment agents may claim to act on a prospective employee’s behalf, when in reality their interests lie in taking advantage of him or her.
How people commit recruitment fraud
Some of the ways that recruitment fraud is committed includes:
– Asking for personal information
One method fake recruitment agencies use is asking for personal information. Copies of passports, drivers’ licenses, ID cards, or a signed affidavit may be requested as part of the application process. There is a stage at which such verification might be appropriate—but not at the beginning of the interaction with a recruitment agency.
– Asking for bank account information
In some cases, applicants may be asked for their bank account information, ostensibly to let the agency know how to pay the successful applicant. With this information in hand, fraudsters can take money from the account in question.
– “It’s urgent!”
Fake recruitment agencies may insist that application forms, along with IDs, should be sent in urgently, even if the application deadline is a few weeks away. Legitimate agencies will simply remind applicants of the deadline, but will normally not use undue pressure.
– Asking for payment
Some fraudsters will ask for a fee so the applicant can apply for the job under the guise of it being an administration fee; nevertheless, other fees may likely be required later in the process in order to maximize the fraudster’s profits. 3
– Asking for an accommodation fee
Fraudsters may ask for an accommodation fee up front, along with a travel fee, if a planned “interview” is allegedly going to take place overseas or in another part of the country. They may offer to pay part of the fee themselves, appearing generous and causing victims to let their guard down.
How to protect yourself from employment fraud
Applicants may be able to protect themselves from employment fraud if they know what to be on the lookout for. Some of the methods applicants may wish to use include:
– Taking a look at the agencies’ email address
Emails sent from legitimate recruitment agencies will have an address that is the same as, or similar to the recruitment company’s website. Some fake recruitment agencies send emails from free email accounts, from Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and the like.
– Check that the company exists
Official records will show if the company offering a job really does exist. If it does, the applicant can contact the company directly to make sure that the job is really being offered .
– Using your own travel arrangements
If a potential fraudulent agency or employer asks for fees to cover accommodation and travel expenses, applicants should state they wish to make their own arrangements. Legitimate businesses should have no problem with this, whereas fraudsters may insist that applicants need to use the arrangements they provide, so they can get the victim’s money in perpetration of the scam.
– Handing over your personal information
Legitimate companies will only ask for private personal information when applicants have been offered the job. Any companies asking for this information beforehand should be treated with extreme caution.
– Ask where the agency got your contact information from
Job offers that seem to be out of the blue are not likely to be legitimate. Individuals receiving such offers should ask the agency or potential employer in question where they got their details from. Job agencies and potential employers are unlikely to make contact first.
– Don’t do everything online
While the internet has become a huge part of our lives, holding an interview via email should be avoided. During the application process, an interview should be held face to face, or at least over video chat. Treat potential employers and recruitment agencies with extreme caution, especially if they make no attempt to use other forms of contact during the recruitment process.
Legitimate employers will call applicants they wish to speak to. They will not expect the applicants to ring them. Some fake recruitment agencies and employers have been known to charge for the call, even if the applicant is on hold.1
RKN Global’s founder, Ronald K. Noble, notes that in any area, criminals who try to take advantage of others will try to portray themselves as legitimate businesses. While there are many legitimate recruitment agencies, job applicants need to be careful in their search for work. Using diligence when applying for work can help to prevent job seekers from falling victim to fraudsters.
What to do if you think you are a victim
One who thinks he or she may be a victim of employment fraud should:
- Stop communicating with the agency/potential employer right away
- Make a note of any contact details, and information that he or she has about the agency in question
- Save messages any correspondence from the agency so it can be used for possible further investigation. 2
- Refuse to part with your own money if bank account or credit card information has been shared, tell the bank or credit card company immediately
- Contact the police and give them as much information as possible
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