Recruitment Scams on the Rise

Scammers are preying on candidates across the UK, masquerading as legitimate recruitment agencies. They entice them with promises of job opportunities, additional income, and flexible schedules through WhatsApp, all in an effort to steal their personal data.

For targeted agencies, it's a nightmare scenario. After years of diligently building a credible reputation, they find themselves undermined by impostors. These scammers copied actual job listings from reputable agency websites, with the agency only becoming aware of the situation after receiving around 25 distressing calls from victims who had unwittingly shared sensitive information like bank details and passport information.

The agency owner remarked, "They were very, very upset and basically implying that people from my business were trying to get their personal information.

The agency owner further explained, "We discovered scammers were putting out a job advert in our company name, on employment website It was very well written, a good salary, so it was very enticing.

I was just hopeful that they weren't sending all their details through to them, but a lot of candidates did, and then they realised when they spoke to us."

The candidate’s side

One candidate received a WhatsApp message after applying to a job listing on Indeed and was asked to share personal information for interview verification.

She said “They were really convincing in the way they mimicked a real recruitment company and I didn't suspect anything. I realised it was a scam when after a few days of not hearing anything there was a hard credit check on my report, so I phoned the real recruitment company and told them my concerns and they confirmed it was a fake job advert."

In another instance, a candidate fell victim to a WhatsApp and phone call scheme, resulting in the theft of £3,000. The experience left her feeling "vulnerable" and "devastated".

An on-going issue

The BBC learned of these fraudulent activities when one of their reporters received a WhatsApp message purportedly from a recruiter at an engineering agency. Upon reaching out to the agency, they disclosed that scammers had been exploiting their name for eighteen months. Throughout this period, they were inundated with calls from anxious candidates and experienced repercussions.

“We've received numerous negative reviews, tarnishing our reputation. My heart goes out to those affected by this. Unfortunately, there's little we can do other than to raise awareness.”

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