Jobseekers are being conned out of hundreds of pounds by scammers taking money for fake security checks and training, the government has warned.
Ministers say up to 10% of jobseekers have fallen victim to a scam, losing up to £500 for non-existent checks or being tricked into calling premium rate phone lines for interviews.
Employment minister Damian Hinds said people should be cautious.
Jobseekers should check the Saferjobs website for tips, he added.
“Jobseekers, typically ordinary people on low income, are being targeted by fraudsters,” he said.
“Many of the people affected are just looking to provide for their families, and instead face financial hardship at no fault of their own.”
Keith Rosser, chairman of Saferjobs, a joint industry and law enforcement organisation which aims to tackle recruitment fraud, said: “Recruitment fraud is varied and affects people in different ways.
“It can be a fake job offer advising that the individual needs to pay for security checks, online training, visas or insurance, or a work-from-home scam conning people into money laundering.
“Unfortunately, job scams are on the rise and in the last two years we have witnessed a 300% rise in recruitment related fraud and misconduct.”
The organisation’s tips for jobseekers include:
- Never pay money up front
- Never call the company for an interview
- Do not give out personal details that are not relevant to an application process – such as bank account details, a National Insurance number, date of birth, driving licence or utility bill information
- Do not do everything online – at some point a job discussion should lead to a phone or face-to-face interview
- Do research about the company the job is with – check landline telephone numbers to confirm the job is real, and use social media and other sources to find out more about the firm