Scam Jobs and staying safe in the jobs market

Posted on: 30 Apr 2018

The job market is huge and sometimes difficult to control. Unfortunately, from time to time, job or internship vacancies are advertised with the intention of acquiring your personal or financial information to be used in a fraudulent manner by dishonest people. This is called a scam.


A scam can be via apps, face to face, social media, post, telephone, email, text message or through websites.

Whether you are applying for a job, networking or meeting clients when starting your own business read our top tips to help you know what you are looking for:

Top tips for recognising scams and suspicious activity;

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is;
  2. Be very suspicious of interviews which are arranged other than legitimate locations such as the employer’s premises or a recruitment consultant’s offices. Some employers might book large venues such as a hotel for assessment centres but such arrangements should still be checked for authenticity. Even if the early stages of the recruitment process are not to be held at the employer’s, premises, there should always be an opportunity to visit the actual workplace before accepting a job offer. Avoid situations where this is not possible;
  3. Always ensure, if attending interviews or events, that you ae visiting a real location that can be verified in advance, and that somebody knows where you are going, when you are expected back and that they have contact numbers for you;
  4. Be suspicious if directed to different numbers, websites or a different company name than the one in the advert you responded to. This may be done to hide a bad reputation or a scam;
  5. Avoid schemes where you make money by signing up new members to sell for you;
  6. Do not be pressurised to sign up to anything you do not fully understand;
  7. Be wary if you are asked for money - you do a job to earn money not to lose it;
  8. When you first apply do not provide bank or financial information or similar identification. These might be required later, but only after you have got the job;Only seek or accept employment or self-employment opportunities from reputable employment agencies, direct job recruitment posts on official websites or through trusted networking contacts;
  9. Never assume any job advert on social media is genuine. Always take time to verify any information that you see. Trust your instincts and do not be afraid to walk away if necessary! Use search facilities and, where possible, network connections to research the company;
  10. Avoid jobs or other opportunities where a company asks you to ring a premium rate number as the only way to apply.

Scam Jobs and staying safe in the jobs market

If in doubt;

  • Do not apply for the job;
  • Do not agree to sign anything;
  • Do not pay for any services on offer;
  • Do not return any contact with the organisation;
  • Do not attend events that cannot be checked out beforehand;
  • Ask the Careers Service for a second opinion.

What action to take if you feel you have think you have been a victim of a scam?

Report to the Police

If suspects are near-by or have recently been with you, you should report this by calling the police on 101;

If you think you have been a victim of this type of crime in the past you can report it to Action Fraud at or by calling 0300 123 2040, text phone 0300 123 2050.

Careers Service

Come in and speak to the Careers and Employability Service who can signpost you to the relevant reporting channels

Citizens Advice

Call the Citizens' Advice helpline on 08454 040506 for advice on what to do next

Links to further information:

University of Portsmouth Student Union: Protect yourself against scams and Keep Safe

Safer Jobs is a non-profit, joint industry and law enforcement organisation designed to support job seekers, agency staff, and contractors with any suspected fraud, malpractice, breach of legislation, or poor experience they may encounter. 

Citizen Advice gives advice on scams and offer support

One in three victims of job scams are students and graduates; don’t let it be you!

Source: CV Library 2016