Enter the words ‘company fraud’ into Google and the results will be dominated by stories of cyber security breaches and misappropriation of funds. Less publicised is the very real threat of recruitment fraud.
As more and more jobseekers search for roles online, the number of opportunistic fraudsters in operation has seen a sharp rise in recent years. And they appear to be getting more sophisticated.
According to figures from SAFERjobs, a voluntary organisation that was set up in 2008 with the Metropolitan Police specifically to tackle fraud within the recruitment sector; the number of reported recruitment scams rose from 150 in 2008 to 70,000 each month in 2015.
Not surprising, therefore, that this has become an issue of increasing concern for many recruitment business owners.
Indeed, in 2016, a report published by CV-Library found that 56% of recruiters believe job scams and job-related fraud are a key concern for the industry. But what form do these scams take?
Recruitment agencies targeted
Speaking to Recruitment Grapevine recently, SAFERjobs highlighted a recent case regarding a bogus company who released details of a number of ‘new roles’ to various recruitment agencies.
The company then set up fake candidate profiles who then ‘applied’ for the advertised roles and the recruitment agencies would then submit these ‘candidates’ for interview. Low and behold they would get the job.
Once in their ‘new role’, the candidates would be paid as contingency workers through the recruitment agency until which time the standard 60-90 day invoice was due for payment, which would never materialise.
Exploiting vulnerable jobseekers
In October, the BBC exposed a fraudster using the pseudonym John Phillips, who created fictitious jobs and prayed on those most desperate to find work – charging them as much a £480 in "accreditation fees". He created 10 bogus companies that all had realistic looking websites and advertised a variety of HR Assistant roles. It took four years before he was caught.
SAFERjobs advise recruiters to always contact the head office of the said employer to verify they are a bona fide business, and report any cases they see as potentially suspicious.
You should also check their social media profile too, especially if you are suddenly receiving CVs from candidates who appear too good to be true. And if your instinct tells you that what you see doesn’t quite feel right, then speak to other recruiters and ask if they have also been approached by the same people.
That is how many of these fraudsters are eventually caught – simply through the peer-to-peer sharing of information. Also don’t forget the simple things such as thoroughly vetting candidates – it may seem an obvious thing to say, but not doing so makes you vulnerable to these fraudsters.
There are other ways to ensure that your recruitment business is fully protected that go beyond scammers. For instance, constantly changing employment legislation and other regulations mean that as a business owner you need to ensure that you are up to date with what is happening and operating in a compliant manner.
This not only reduces your risk profile, it also ensures stability for your agency should any challenge be forthcoming. Or as we like to say, it provides you with peace of mind. For our part, Simplicity can support your business whilst reducing risk through new client checks and due diligence leaving you more time to grow.
In an age of increasingly sophisticated technology and equally sophisticated fraudsters, it’s good to know that partnering with Simplicity means you are not alone when protecting your business from external threats. Together we can make a difference.