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Have you recently received a WhatsApp, Telegram or Facebook message from a recruiter who seems to be suspicious?

We’ve been made aware that there are a number of scam messages being sent across WhatsApp, Telegram and where the sender impersonates recruiters and recruitment companies, including Reed.

These messages are often promoting fake job adverts and are trying to obtain personal information from you to enable them to commit identity theft and other types of online fraud.

Please note, Reed and companies within the Reed Group, will not use WhatsApp, Facebook, or Telegram, to contact you to promote job vacancies we have directly.

How can you identify a scam?

In the digital age, scammers have found new avenues to exploit unsuspecting job seekers. WhatsApp, a popular messaging app, has become a breeding ground for fraudulent employment offers.

To protect yourself from falling victim to these scams, it's crucial to learn how to identify them. Here are some key tips to help you recognise fraudulent employment offers on all platforms:

1. Too good to be true: If the job offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often lure victims with promises of high salaries, minimal work, and luxurious benefits. Be sceptical of job offers that sound unrealistic.

2. Unsolicited job offers: Legitimate employers usually don't reach out to job seekers on WhatsApp without prior communication. If you receive a job offer out of the blue from an unknown number, be cautious.

3. No verifiable information: Scammers often provide vague or unverifiable information about the company and the job. Legitimate employers should be willing to share details about the company's name, location, website, and a proper job description.

4. Request for personal information: Be wary of job offers that immediately ask for personal information such as your bank account details, or passport information. Legitimate employers typically gather such information later in the hiring process.

5. Poor grammar and spelling: Scammers often have poor language skills. If you notice frequent grammatical errors and awkward language in job offers, it's a red flag.

6. Too much urgency: Scammers use tactics like creating a sense of urgency, pressuring you to make quick decisions. They may say things like, "This opportunity won't last long." Take your time to research and evaluate any job offer.

7. Unprofessional communication: Pay attention to how the recruiter communicates. Legitimate companies typically use professional email addresses, not generic Gmail or Yahoo accounts. Verify the legitimacy of the company's email domain.

8. Fake websites: Scammers often create fake websites that mimic legitimate companies. Verify the website's authenticity by checking for an ‘About us’ page, contact information, and conducting an online search for reviews.

9. Request for money: Never send money to secure a job offer. Scammers may ask for fees, background check payments, or training costs. Legitimate employers do not require candidates to pay upfront.

10. No face-to-face interaction: If the entire hiring process happens through messaging without any face-to-face or video interviews, it's suspicious. Legitimate employers often want to meet candidates in person or via video.

11. Trust your instincts: If something feels off or makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts. It's better to decline a potentially fraudulent offer than to become a victim.

It is vital that you remain vigilant, these scams are no different from those you receive relating to other services including banking, car insurance, mortgages etc. Remember that scammers prey on desperation and hope, so approach job offers with a healthy dose of scepticism, and always prioritise your safety and security.

What should I do if I think I have been scammed?

Scammers may pose as Reed to discuss fake jobs with you in order to obtain your personal information and or/financial information.

Reed does not use WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, SMS/RSC, or any other type of instant messaging app, to communicate with any candidates. Nor would we ask you for payment to register with us. Therefore, if you believe you have been the victim of recruitment scam, please report this to JobsAware.

JobsAware are a non-profit, joint industry and law enforcement organisation working to combat labour market abuse. Visit their website for information and to get free, expert advice for safer work practices.