Recruiters, Umbrella Company Employees and other contracting professionals are being targeted in a variety of job scams by fraudsters, a detective constable from a specialist Metropolitan Police squad tackling online crime has warned.

Speaking at this week’s Recruitment Agency Expo in London’s Olympia, DC Krishan Kapur of the Met’s specialist FALCON cybercrime unit itemised a spate of fraudulent activity hitting recruiters and contractors, including identity theft, phoney disclosure and barring services (DBS), contractor fraud and hotel scams.

DC Kapur revealed that SAFERJobs, a non-profit organisation made up of representatives from the staffing industry and law enforcement, is presently receiving five reports every day from people who suspect that they’ve been subject to fraudulent activity. Over the last two years, he said, job scams have multiplied by 300 per cent.

Contractor fraud features prominently in the latest spate, DC Kapur reported. Typically, this takes the form of agencies receiving bogus calls from people who claim to be working on behalf of an end-client in search of contracting professionals.

In these cases, fake employer representatives refer wholly non-existent contractor candidates to the agency. The result can be substantial financial loss in situations where an agency pays a non-existent contractor for a period of time. Needless to say, they then discover that they are not being paid by the employer because no such employer existed in the first place.

DC Kapur also flagged up the growing phenomenon of ‘website squatting’, wherein a fraudster squats on legitimate recruiters’ websites and uses their names and, potentially, their contacts.

In addition, he warned of an increase in DBS scams. These typically involve candidates being told by fraudsters posing as employer representatives that they require a DBS check costing anywhere between £59 and £99. Upon paying up, the candidate discovers that the job was a complete fiction from the outset.

DC Kapur went on to urge candidates to be vigilant about another rising trend: identity theft. In these scenarios, candidates are asked by wholly bogus employer representatives for detailed personal information, including bank account numbers, passport numbers and even, in some instances, their mothers’ maiden names. The fraudsters then use this information to open bank accounts and take out credit loans under the scammed candidate’s name.

Finally, he pointed to a rise in hotel scams, wherein a phoney overseas recruiter, pretending to work on behalf of an expensive Central London hotel, advertises a non-existent job. Vast fees for visas and registrations are then charged for this entirely fictitious role.

Recruiters and contractors beware.

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