Recruitment Fraud – Action Needed?

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A week or so ago there was a topic that was posted on The FIRM’s discussion forum that was quite alarming. One of the members, an in-house UK based recruitment manager at a large company had flagged the issue of Recruitment Fraud.

I suspect that label could cover a multitude of sins, some very minor that we might experience every day and some major. This one falls into the latter category. It would appear that criminal gangs have been targeting the jobs market to collect personal information about people. In many of these cases it appears that the perpetrators of such fraud are creating spoof corporate websites and enticing people to apply for jobs through them. Of course the ‘candidates’ think they are applying for legitimate jobs at well known global companies In doing so, the targeted members of the public are asked to provide a range of personal information that would be relevant to a job application, but being given to a criminal company puts them at serious risk.

These fraudsters have also claimed to be able to arrange visas including travel and accommodation, couriers, legal advice or other services. The perpetrators can get quite clever providing alternate contact info for another spoof department or transferring calls. All with the objective of convincing the ‘applicant’ of their legitimacy and to con them into supplying personal information and money in the belief that a legitimate visa will be issued.

In addition the fraudsters have been known to send what appears to be real job offers to these ‘applicants’. In a recent situation one company actually had people turn up to start work. As you can imagine this caused a lot of frustration and disappointment to all involved.

It seems that it is all very convincing with many overseas workers looking to migrate being targeted at potentially great expense to them.

Many companies including RBS, British Airways and Shell ( only did a very brief search) are now putting notices on their corporate careers sites to inform people of how they advertise and the processes they follow during a formal recruitment lifecycle. There is of course no indication that they have been targeted or if they are just acting ahead of the game.

This is a serious issue and thought it wise to raise awareness of the issue to a wider audience and to suggest that everyone starts to think of a page or statement that we can put on their corporate careers web site. Not only are the individuals victims of this but so would your company be if this happened to you or them. It would damage your reputation and the level of trust people have in your corporate, customer/consumer and employer brands.

Many of you will be aware of this, but if not I hope it helps

  1. Very valuable post Gary.

    There has long been a systemic weakness in vetting those that access to candidate data, and the only surprise is that it’s taken as long as this for the criminal community to exploit it. Do Job Board vet who uses their services? Not in my experience – they are often more than happy to sign you up without any kind of due diligence at all; indeed, such is the competition between them for recruiter/direct business, they often offer free trials on database search as enticement. If I was a criminal, it basically means that I’d have a full day to mine that data for ID fraud.

    This can only become a bigger problem. Once word spreads that all you’ve got to do is pony up a couple hundred quid for an account on Monster and have access to address, phone and personal data of hundreds of thousands on individuals, putting your CV on a Job Board will become a major risk.

    The ‘kite mark’ idea is a good one, but in the end there can only be a legislative (i.e must be established company to advertise or use search) or technical solution, and tech will beat the law in terms of implementation. There are innovative companies out there that are providing means to anonymize online personal data, whilst still enabling contact by 3rd parties. I’m working with one of them at the moment and we should see many more come onto the market in the coming year. It needs to happen soon.

    Best wishes


    PS: Any job boards want to tell me what they are doing about this, please let us know

    • Sara
    • March 10th, 2011

    Is this the same as all the spam job emails I got in my account when I was jobhunting (the ones with the really long ‘ID’ numbers in them that come in about 100 at a time) or something more sophisticated?

  2. Hi Gary,

    Good call to flag this up and draw some more attention to it. Great points also Hung. Sara, it’s definitely more sophisticated than than the spam emails you refer to and is involving the use of mini duplicated site. It’s been going on for some time now. I remember hearing from in-house recruiters in the hospitality sector a few years back, that dummy websites and agencies were being used to exploit job seekers. Hospitality seemed an easy target for the criminals I think, as many job seekers had only recently moved to the UK and were in need of jobs.



  3. Thank you for your comments and the thoughts given. Sorry I’ve not responded to each of you individually, but will do so later

  1. March 15th, 2011

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