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Gary Franklin

Resourcing Expert

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Blog: The serious issue of recruitment fraud


In March of 2011 there was a topic that was posted on The FIRM’s discussion forum that was quite alarming.

One of the members, a UK based recruitment manager, working in-house at a large company had flagged the issue of Recruitment Fraud. 
I wrote the majority of this post then. It is updated here with a bit more recent input from Claire Peat at Shell UK.
I suspect that label ‘recruitment fraud’ could cover a multitude of sins, some very minor that we might experience every day and some major. This one falls into the latter category.
It would appear that criminal gangs have been targeting the jobs market to collect personal information about people. In many of these cases it appears that the perpetrators of such fraud are creating spoof corporate websites and enticing people to apply for jobs through them.
Of course the ‘candidates’ think they are applying for legitimate jobs at well-known global companies. In doing so, the targeted members of the public are asked to provide a range of personal information that would be relevant to a job application, but being given to a criminal company puts them at serious risk.
These fraudsters have also claimed to be able to arrange visas including travel and accommodation, couriers, legal advice or other services. The perpetrators can get quite clever providing alternate contact info for another spoof department or transferring calls. All with the objective of convincing the ‘applicant’ of their legitimacy and to con them into supplying personal information and money  in the belief that a legitimate visa will be issued.
In addition the fraudsters have been known to send what appears to be real job offers to these ‘applicants’.  In a recent situation one company actually had people turn up to start work. As you can imagine this caused a lot of frustration and disappointment to all involved.
Serious issue
It seems that it is all very convincing with many overseas workers looking to migrate being targeted at potentially great expense to them.
Many companies including RBS, British Airways and Shell (I only did a very brief search) are now putting notices on their corporate careers sites to inform people of how they advertise and the processes they follow during a formal recruitment lifecycle. There is of course no indication that these companies have been targeted or if they are just acting with the interests of the consumer/candidate in mind.
Claire Peat at Shell claimed this week (Dec 2011) it had been a regular occurrence, at least one instance a week usually originating in third world countries.
In her comments in The FIRM’s discussion forum she went on to say: “It’s not an easy one to deal with – it’s a time stealer for the recruitment team (but necessary for brand/reputation and candidate experience) and also for legal teams that try to investigate/stop this. All we can do is try to educate potential candidates and hope that they do get in contact if there’s a whiff of something fishy going on.”
“The bigger firms will always be an easy target for the scammers because of their dominant brand presence, but I can imagine in this climate smaller firms will be being used too, so the more we can educate recruiters and candidates alike to what is going on the better,” she added.
This is a serious issue and thought it wise to raise awareness of the issue to a wider audience and to suggest that everyone starts to think of a page or statement that we can put on their corporate careers web site. Not only are the individuals victims of this but so would your company be if this happened to you or them.
It would damage your reputation and the level of trust people have in your corporate, customer/consumer and employer brands. Many of you will be aware of this, but if not I hope it helps.
I am very keen to hear of examples of this kind of thing happening as well as what actions you have in place to address them or stop them from occuring in the first place.

Gary Franklin is a resourcing expert and set up the Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers.

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Gary Franklin

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