According to Keith Rosser, the chair and board director of SAFERjobs, the organization as of December 2018, had witnessed a 300% rise in recruitment-related fraud. This is even more disturbing as fake job adverts are now being linked with human trafficking and slavery.
Why Do Fake Employers and Recruitment Agencies Exist in the UK?
The perks of working in the UK are impressive. The UK is arguably one of the best places to live and work in the whole world. They have a rock-solid and continuous educational system, serene working and living environment, as well as globally recognized businesses and organizations.
The UK is a choice work destination for young professionals all over the world. It is therefore not uncommon to find young professionals, residents, and non-residents, who are in search of employment opportunities in the UK. Some migrate to the UK for study purposes and then decide to stay back, while others migrate specifically for work.
It is also not uncommon to find recruitment agencies in the UK. These agencies serve as middlemen between employers and job seekers, helping the latter get desirable jobs in the UK.
As more professionals desire and pursue job opportunities in the UK, the activities of scam artists and fraudsters have also increased as more reports of fake job adverts and recruitment frauds are being recorded. This large pool of job seekers, hence, birthed forth these fake employers and recruitment agencies.
Step-By-Step Operation of Fake Employers and Recruitment Agencies
People typically fall prey to the activities of fake employers and recruitment agencies due to desperation. Other economic factors such as poverty, unemployment rates, the standard of living, and wages rate also play a key role. However, if you understand how these scam artists operate, it is easier for you not to fall victim.
They typically start by placing a fake job advert. A fake job advert as the name implies is a fake advert for a job that doesn’t exist. These fake job adverts are often tailored after genuine jobs by genuine brands or recruitment agencies. Hence, they look real and sound genuine.
After an unsuspecting job seeker applies for the job, their personal information gets hijacked. Then, the job seeker is contacted by someone claiming to be an employer or representative of a recruiting firm offering them a job. They may require their unsuspecting victims to fill a questionnaire and answer some interview questions.
The job seeker gets notified that they have been selected for the job. And a fake job offer letter is usually sent to authenticate this claim. The job seeker is encouraged to proceed to the next steps to secure the job.
The fake employer or recruiting agency would contact their victims to discuss arrangements. Being an overseas job, they would talk about visas, travel, accommodation, logistics, etc. Some of them may refer their victims to another fake agency that would supposedly help them with these arrangements.
At this point, the victim would be required to pay one fee after the other. From application fees to administrative fees, visa processing, accommodation processing, accommodation deposit, travel arrangements, etc. They aim to milk their victims of as much money as possible. Most of them would go on to ask for bank account details to enable them open salary accounts, instead, victims’ bank accounts are hacked and withdrawals are made.
How To Protect Yourself from Fake Employers and Recruitment Agencies
If you live in the UK, you can check out SAFERjobs for tips on how to protect yourself from scams and frauds related to employment. Also, if you or anyone you know gets scammed, you can report such scams to SAFERjobs. The organization was set up by the Metropolitan Police to raise awareness and fight criminal activities targeted at job seekers.
Below are a few tips to help you protect yourself from the activities of fake employers and recruitment agencies in the UK:
1. Check the documents for proper spelling and grammar practice.
You want to keep your eyes open for relevant details that might be missing, poor grammar, and inexcusable spelling errors. Because a genuine recruitment agency or employer would be professional in every sense of the word. If the documents look shabby, you may want to investigate further.
2. Confirm that the employer or recruitment agency exists.
Every country in the world has a system, database, organization, or some way through which its citizens and other stakeholders can verify the legitimacy of companies or recruitment agencies operating in that country. Take advantage of this to verify the validity of the employer or the agency.
3. Where visa processing applies, contact the embassy of the country you would be migrating to.
You want to verify the information given to you by the employer or recruitment agency. If the embassy informs you of a different process and fees requirement, you are most likely dealing with a fake employer or recruitment agency.
4. Where migration applies, offer to make your travel arrangements yourself
You want to be sure that they don’t have an undue stake in your travel logistics. If they insist on handling the travel arrangement for you or using their recommended travel agency, you may be dealing with a fake employer or recruitment agency.
5. Look out for professional footprints.
A genuine employer should have a functional website and business reviews online. Having a professional website means owning a domain and owning a domain means you get to have customized email addresses for your business. Some reported fake employers and recruitment agencies in the UK use Yahoo and Hotmail for their mailing purposes. The magic is in the details, pay attention.
List of Reported Fake Employers and Recruitment Agencies in the UK
There is hardly any comprehensive list of fake employers and recruiters anywhere. The key is to learn how to identify and protect yourself from them. Below is a curated list of reported fake employers and recruitment agencies in the UK:
AIDA Cruises and Construction
Baltic Tourist Shipping Line
Capt. Dorris Morgan pretending to be from Amble Boat Company
Precious Metal International Network (PMIN) Limited
Sub Saharan Africa Climate Fund
Victoria Suite Hotel Ltd London, UK
Employment scam is on the rise globally. The UK is a wonderful place to live and work in, but don’t let desperation make you fall victim to the activities of fake employers and recruitment agencies in the UK. Don’t ignore any warning signs. Verify before you engage. Check out our career advice section for more helpful career articles and guides.