Could you be taken in by a fake job ad?

Nearly three quarters of us could, survey reveals

Updated: 
email job scam

Nearly three in four job hunters are unaware that not all jobs on online sites are genuine, running the risk of being swindled out of their cash.

A survey of over 2,000 workers by jobs site CV-Library and non-profit organisation SAFERjobs has revealed that 71.3% of workers would assume that any job posted online is a legitimate posting from a real business.

Even more job seekers - 72.1% - admit they wouldn't recognise the signs of a scam. And 98% of candidates say that they would still continue with an application, even if they were suspicious that a job might not be genuine.

"Today's job market is flourishing and there's an abundance of opportunities available to workers looking for their next move. Unfortunately, this can make it even easier for scammers to hide among genuine postings and take advantage of unsuspecting candidates," says Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.

"At CV-Library we use automated and manual tools to ensure every job positing is legitimate, but there are other platforms that fraudsters use to lure their victims and it's critical that job hunters are educated on the risk of online job scams."

There are a number of signs to look out for. The commonest are the use of a personal email address such as joebloggs@hotmail.com, or company email addresses that don't match up to the real thing. Spelling and grammatical mistakes are a red flag too.

It's also important to remember that if it looks to good to be true, then it probably is. Unrealistic salaries, the promise that no experience is necessary and job offers without interviews are all signs that something may be wrong.

And to avoid losing money as well as wasting time, job hunters should be wary of requests for payment for criminal checks. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check has been replaced by one from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which shouldn't cost more than £75.

Finally, the use of premium rate phone numbers is a bad sign.

Most scams involve several of these features, says Keith Rosser, chair of SAFERjobs.

"If a job is advertising an unrealistic salary, stating that no experience is necessary and providing a personal email address on a posting full of spelling mistakes, then a candidate should be cautious," he says.

"That's not to say there aren't jobs out there that might include the odd typo, or not require specific experience, but it's better to check with the site on which the job is advertised."

According to Crimestoppers, students looking for holiday jobs are particular targets for scammers, with one family losing an extraordinary £10,000.

Job hunters are advised to stick to jobs websites that are affiliated with SAFERjobs, and to report any scams to Action Fraud.

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