Stay safe when jobseeking

Changing course

In the current competitive jobs market, there are many opportunities for unscrupulous individuals and organisations to offer fake or fraudulent vacancies. It is very important to be aware of possible scams and pitfalls both online and elsewhere.

You should be particularly vigilant if you encounter any of the following:

  • The vacancy advert has poor spelling and grammar or it is one that seems generally unprofessional
  • The vacancy arrives directly into your email account from a source you do not recognise
  • There is no landline telephone number
  • There is a hotmail or gmail contact rather than one with the company name
  • You receive a job offer without an interview, or without having met the employer, or after a very basic introduction to the work
  • The job offered is very different to the vacancy advertised
  • The rate of pay is higher than you might expect for the duties listed

Additionally, be alert if you are:

  • asked to run errands buying goods for the employer which will be reimbursed with a cheque
  • asked to make payments on their behalf via MoneyGram, Western Union, or PayPoint
  • asked to provide personal details eg a copy of your driving licence, passport or bank details without having met the employer or having verified that they have a legitimate need for this information
  • asked to undertake an observation visit or to accompany staff on a day’s work without pay
  • expected to recruit staff and become a team leader in order to progress. This may be promised within an unrealistic period of time 

Be suspicious, be vigilant

If you have suspicions about any vacancy you find online – including those that may be advertised on legitimate job websites, including Career Connect – we advise you to:

  • Stop - don’t respond to any correspondence if you feel unsure or suspicious about the vacancy - don’t give out any personal information – this could be used for identity theft
  • Research - use the internet to find out more about the organisation or employer you are in touch with – discussion forums often provide useful feedback – add the word ‘scam’ to your search
  • Check out the SaferJobs website - this not-for-profit organisation has been set up to help to protect job seekers from falling prey to scam jobs
  • Contact the Careers Service at: careers@sheffield.ac.uk -let us know about your experience and we will endeavour to follow up your concerns – please keep any emails as evidence of your experience
  • Contact the Police or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 – if you have been a victim of fraud and want to report it
  • Beware of Fraud Recovery Fraud – fraudsters may contact you offering you legal help to recover money you have lost. Be suspicious and only deal with those you know to be genuine