Hertfordshire residents have been scammed out of more than £40,000 in recent months through fake job scams.
Fifteen victims have been scammed since the beginning of November 2023, losing £43,015, with one Watford resident losing £10,000. Residents from Potters Bar, Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Stevenage, and Borehamwood were also targeted by similar scams.
The fraudsters target job seekers by posting fake job opportunities on social media sites or in some cases messaging them directly via text or Whatsapp. Once the victim interacts with the fraudster they are asked to make a payment to take the job application forward. They may also ask for bank account details to set up salary payments, which they can then use to access the victim’s bank account.
Fraud Triage Manager, Julian Griffiths, said: “If you receive an exciting job opportunity sent directly to you via social media you should proceed with caution, especially if you haven’t been actively looking for a job. It’s unusual for employment agencies to ask prospective candidates to pay fees, so if this happens make sure you thoroughly research the agency or employer.”
Check any messages for poor spelling and grammar – this is often a sign that fraudsters are at work.
Check the official records to confirm that the organisation offering you the job actually exists. If it does, contact the organisation directly through officially listed contact details to confirm the job offer is genuine.
Tell the employer that you will make your own travel and accommodation arrangements if necessary. Beware if they try hard to dissuade you or tell you that you have to use the agency they refer you to.
Beware, too, if the employer or agent provides a what appears to be a personal email address such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail as a point of contact.