Too good to be true? Beware of scam vacancies

The dream is a part time job that is well paid and fits in with your studies. The reality is that part time work can be hard to get. We’ve been warned about a number of fake jobs, currently targeting university students.

What’s the deal? Advertised as ‘assistant’ or ‘personal shopper’ these roles  typically involve running errands for somebody who claims to be out of the country. They are sent a cheque and asked to make purchases, pay bills etc. Having completed these tasks, the cheque is usually cancelled, or bounces, so that the student is left out of pocket.

This is just one example of a current scam that we’ve heard about. We’ve warned about this problem before, so just to remind everyone on how to avoid falling for these schemes:

Be careful of company names. Some scammers are even using the names of reputable companies to make their adverts look legitimate. Sometimes the real address and phone number of the company are present in the advert.

Check the email addresses. If a role is being advertised by a large company, the email address on the advert should be a professional one linked to that company. If someone is claiming to be from a large organisation but are asking you to email their gmail or Hotmail address, this should bring up red flags.

If it sounds too good to be true… then it probably is. Typically these scam vacancies offer high hourly wages to attract people to apply. Not only will you not get paid but you could end up losing money.

Likewise, if the application process is too easy… this is also a warning. Not being asked to supply a cover letter or to attend an interview; job descriptions which are very vague; keenness for you to start immediately – these do not necessarily mean a job is a scam but it might be an indicator.

Google it. If a scam has been running for a while or others have been hit by it, chances are there will be a discussion online about it.

Never agree to make purchases on behalf of somebody. Even if they send you a cheque or appear to transfer money to you. No legitimate employer will ask you to use your personal funds for company business with promises of reimbursement.

Beware anyone asking for too much personal information. Hopefully everybody knows not to give out pin numbers and passwords, but also be careful about bank details – you should never have to give this information out during the application process and even after you have accepted a job, account number, sort code and bank address is enough detail to make sure you are paid. Also beware of providing other personal data such as date of birth and mother’s maiden name – information that is often used as security questions to access personal accounts.

If in doubt… come in and speak to us in the Careers & Enterprise Centre. We’ll use our expert experience to help you decide if something is a scam or just a good opportunity.


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