Types of job scams

Information on different types of fake job offers and job scams


What is meant by the word phishing?

Every internet site is facing the growing issue of fraudulent usage of information, and we want to work with job seekers to alert this practice, by sharing the scams in operation, the warning signs and the things you can do to protect yourself.Spam email is such a common occurrence today that you may think you know what to look for, however with the two types of email scams – known as ‘phishing’ and ‘spoofing’ this can be more difficult to identify.

Both practices concern fraudulent email, where the ‘from address’ has been forged to make it appear as if it has been sent from somewhere, or someone, other than the actual source.

What’s ‘phishing’ all about – and how do I spot it?

Phishing emails are used to fraudulently obtain personal identification and account information – they can also be used to lure the recipient into downloading malicious software. The message will often suggest there are issues with the recipient’s account that requires immediate attention. A link will also be provided to a spoof website where the recipient will be asked to provide personal/account information or download malicious software. 

A reputable organisation is unlikely to ask you to download software to access your account or use their services, however there are instances where you may be asked to download their app or click a link for a specific purpose. You should, wherever possible, make your own enquiries as to whether this is a legitimate request – if you are not expecting the email, don’t click on it!

What is the difference between ‘phishing’ and ‘spoofing’?

The primary purpose of phishing is to obtain sensitive information; the primary purpose of spoofing is identity theft. 

As its name implies, spoofing is the act of using a faked (or “spoofed”) email address or IP address to fool the recipient into thinking it is legitimate. Spoofing is a cybercrime that happens when someone impersonates a trusted contact or brand, pretending to be someone you trust in order to access sensitive personal information.

This scam is not directed at any particular audience – it even targets individuals who have included contact information on their CV. 

In the case of job searches, these emails will often include a fraudulent offer of employment and/or the invitation to serve as a go-between for payment processing or money transfers. 

Money Mules

What is meant by the phrase ‘Money Mule’?

A money mule is a person who transfers stolen money on behalf of others, usually through their bank account. Criminals contact people and offer them cash to receive money into their bank account and transfer it to another account. This person is known as a ‘money mule’.

What is the money used for?

The money that money mules transfer is usually stolen, it’s used to fund lots of different crimes, like drug dealing, sexual exploitation, frauds and scams, human trafficking and even terrorism.

Why would someone become a money mule?

Criminals often target vulnerable people who are likely to be in need of money – students are often an easy target in this approach, and sometimes they do not realise they have committed a crime.

How do criminals target money mules?

You might be approached by fraudsters online or in person. They might post what looks like a genuine job advert and then ask for your bank details for something such as online training or a criminal record disclosure check.

Once you become a money mule, it can be hard to stop. You could be attacked or threatened with violence if you don’t continue to let your account be used by criminals.

Do not be fooled by offers of quick cash, as criminals’ need money mules to launder the profits of their crimes.

What are the repercussions of being a money mule?

There are many repercussions that could be felt if you become a money mule. Here are some of the most common and troubling:

  • Your bank account will be closed
  • You will have problems applying for credit
  • You will find it hard to access further student loans
  • You will find it difficult to get a phone contract
  • You could go to prison for up to 14 years

What should I do if I think I am being or I have been used as a money mule?

Firstly, you should contact your local Police Force and file a report.

You should then contact your Bank or Building Society to make them aware – this will then feed into the financial intelligence system, which will track any further transactions and may be used to help prevent future occurrences.

Additionally, you should report it to JobsAware here.