Watch out for this recruitment scam!

Emma Lunn
by Lovemoney Staff Emma Lunn on 16 November 2009  |  Comments 26 comments

If you're on the job hunt and are considering signing up to a recruitment website, be careful.

If you're looking for a job at the moment, it's no easy task. Figures out this week show that unemployment now stands at 2.46 million.

So it's no wonder that many jobseekers, graduates in particular, are turning to the internet in order to find work. But while there are many genuine and useful job sites out there, there are also scamsters looking to make money out of desperate jobhunters.

So what should you watch out for?

Fees and charges

The first thing to keep an eye open for is sites that are after your money.

Dodgy recruitment websites reel people in by advertising seemingly great jobs, and all you need to do to apply is send in your CV. Next, the site contacts you saying you look like the perfect applicant, the only problem is your CV - it needs re-writing. Luckily the site can do this for you: for a fee, of course.

The Guardian recently ran a story about a website called The site advertises hundreds of graduate jobs, mostly in marketing. According to the Guardian, one applicant emailed the site his CV and was then plagued by calls offering to re-write his CV for £99. The applicant refused to hand over his card details and started to doubt whether the job advertised even existed.

A quick look at shows that CV re-writes are not the only "service" it offers. For anything from £30 to £80 it offers everything from a CV health check, to application form completion and interview coaching.

For those jobseekers with money to burn there are also a range of packages costing up to £550. These deals include services such as a professional written CV, a detailed telephone consultation, pre-interview preparation and career support.

But given the general level of grammar, spelling (often Americanised such as "specialized" and "personalized") and writing skills on the site, I'd think most graduates could do a better job on their CV themselves or with the help of their university careers service.

And as for whether the jobs themselves actually exist, who knows?

Genuine recruitment websites make money when they actually place a candidate in a position as the recruiting company will pay them a commission.

Identity theft

Your CV contains lots of personal information about you. It has your name, address, phone numbers, email address and date of birth for starters.

It will also contain details of your education and work history.  Some people even put their National Insurance number, place of birth and marital status on their CVs - and even genuine recruiters or employers don't need to know this stuff at the application stage (if at all).

So uploading or sending your CV to a site you know nothing about could be putting you at serious risk of identity fraud. If you do upload a CV to a site that looks genuine, keep it brief. There's no need to put your full address (the town will do), date or place of birth or marital status.

You can include an email address but consider setting up a separate one for your job search in case you're plagued by emails from online recruiters keen to sell you their "services".

How to stay safe

If you're using online recruitment sites here are a few things to look out for:

  • Beware of any sites that ask you to hand over cash either for CV services, interview coaching or preferential treatment.
  • Be wary of sites that won't confirm which employer they're working on behalf of - in some cases the job might not exist or they won't actually have a relationship with the company concerned.
  • Check out the average salary of jobs you're applying for - if the salary is much higher than you're expecting, be suspicious.
  • Check the small print. Many dodgy recruitment sites are located abroad. And look out for bad spelling and grammar - often a sign of a scam; genuine websites will hire professional copywriters to write top-notch copy.

Good luck!

Get help from

If you need help to protect yourself from fraud, or you've fallen victim to a scam, why not ask a question on Q&A where members can give you advice on what worked best for them.

Or watch our videos: The biggest financial rip-offs and Watch out for this debt rip-off to find out more about scams and swindles to avoid.

Finally, if you know of any scams yourself, please share them using the comments box below. That way, other readers can benefit from the knowledge you share.

More: Don't get ripped off by this employment scam | Six things you must do if you lose your job

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Comments (26)

  • SpanishEyes
    Love rating 0
    SpanishEyes said

    Dazzling CVs seems to have an interesting take on what makes a trader trustable.

    Being 'Limited' simply means that, if you cannot meet your liabilities you get to walk away, as the debts stay with the company, rather than with you as an individual. Self employed people are often sole traders, which means they are 100% responsible for their liabilities - they guard their reputations jealously, because their houses depend on it!

    Of far more relevance is whether they carry professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance, so that YOU the customer are covered in the event that they do you any damage. You can usually find details about a provider's insurance in their About Us section on their website.

    Dazzling CVs also says compliance with the Data Protection Act is important I think what he/she means is that you need to check what the trader will do with your personal information. Again, the first thing to look for is whether there is a privacy policy on their website - the very first bit of info they will gather from you is system information in the form of cookies, and there may be subscription data, or data collected from a contact form. If that's in place, you can feel on safer ground opening up negotiations, but I have seen very few companies of any size who state that they comply with the DP Act - it's the law to do so.

    Report on 19 November 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • baytrain
    Love rating 0
    baytrain said

    How I agree with many of the previous posts. As a manager many moons ago, my first sort of applications was simply colour of ink used. Application forms tend to have explicit completion instructions at the top. E.g. "Complete in Black Ink, USE BLOCK CAPITALS."

    Application forms completed in red, blue & green ink were rejected, those in black ink would be checked for basic grammar and spelling, by which time applications would be down to a manageable number.

    I realise that this was not a particularly scientific approach and many people with the core skills may have been passed over but, did I really want an employee that couldn't follow a basic written instruction on a document of such importance.

    In modern times, we all use word processors to complete on line application forms and create CV's which we hope will land us that cherished new job role.

    We trawl the various jobsites searching for suitable positions and fire off automated applications to a raft of employment agencies for the positions we believe we can fill.

    The problem is, the position was filled last week, other applicants match the requirements better, although not legal to say you are too old, I think I have been considered too old for the past 10 years and I still have another 10 years to my retirement age. OUCH!

    Skills updating, when I left school a computer with less processing power than a pc filled a large room. No Computer Literacy courses back then.

    Over the years of my working life technology has moved on in leaps and bounds so too has my knowledge through training in PC Literacy, Personnel, Management, Health & Safety and updated training skills. Most training undertaken at personal expense outside working hours or during annual holidays.

    Now, the credit card has been maxed, so no more self funded training courses for a few years.

    I will continue to apply for those out of my reach positions secure in the knowledge that the new breed of recruiter is a direct descendant of the so called defunct class system who cannot see that sometimes people take a JOB below their level of capability just to keep working and earn an Honest Crust.

    Finally, I, in a moment of madness paid a company who approached me after seeing my CV on a jobsite to be enrolled on their books for casual exhibition work. Apart from one e-mail 2 weeks after paying my enrollment fee I have had no offers or contact from the "International Organisation."

    Scam or not it was money that I could ill afford. So if you run an employment agency or work for an agency please remember you are dealing with real live people who may be feeling the lowest of the low, be virtually penniless and hoping to find a position to regain a modicom of self esteem.

    Report on 08 June 2010  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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