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Jobseekers warned to beware scams amid pandemic-fuelled rise

‘Criminal elements seek to exploit’ those looking for work, expert says.

People looking for work are being urged to beware of job scams following an increase in cases of exploitation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Disclosure Scotland said that latest research found nearly three in four jobseekers (74 per cent) applied for jobs that were not genuine during the pandemic.

Some jobseekers even paid money to companies for disclosure checks only to discover the job they had been offered was not real when the check never arrived.

Information provided through fraudulent job adverts can be used in a number of ways by criminals, including identity theft, Disclosure Scotland said.

It is running a campaign to raise awareness of job scams and employment fraud among jobseekers along with JobsAware, the Disclosure and Barring Service and AccessNl.

Gerard Hart, chief executive of Disclosure Scotland, said: “During the unprecedented times we have been living through, people’s economic security has been, of course, immensely challenged.

“Finding employment is a major way that we build and maintain that vital sense of personal and family wellbeing and safety. It is therefore particularly deplorable that criminal elements seek to exploit job seekers.

“Disclosure Scotland stands ready to assist our partners and the public in putting an end to such fraudulent and damaging scams.”

Signs which could suggest a job scam include being asked for money, poorly written job adverts and offers of unrealistic salaries.

Job offers without an interview and suspicious contact details could also be warning signs.

Dr Suzanne Smith, executive director of barring and safeguarding at the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), said: “The exploitation of job seekers has risen during the pandemic and the methods being used are more and more sophisticated.

“We know that some companies have taken money for DBS checks from unsuspecting jobseekers, relieved that they have been promised a job but the DBS check never arrives and the job was never real.

“The negative impact on the person on the other end of these scams is significant – we are working alongside JobsAware to help prevent this from happening by raising awareness and signposting those affected to where they can get help.”

A survey of 1,645 job seekers conducted in April 2021 in the UK found that during the pandemic, nearly three in four jobseekers (74 per cent) applied for jobs that were not genuine.

Keith Rosser, chairman of JobsAware, previously known as SAFERJobs, said: “With the way we work and look for work continuing to evolve, job scams are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated.

“We know how damaging it can be to fall victim to such scams now more than ever.

“That is why it’s important to educate and arm jobseekers with the understanding and support they need to recognise and report suspected fraud.”

Anyone who suspects they have been targeted, been the victim of a job scam, or have been treated unfairly is advised to report the company and website to JobsAware via their portal (https://

Those who have parted with money as part of a suspected job scam are advised to contact the police.


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