Desperate job hunters targeted with fake adverts amid Debenhams and Arcadia collapse

Job hunters are being charged hundreds of pounds for training courses that simply don’t exist (Image: Getty Images)

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Criminals are targeting vulnerable job seekers with fake adverts designed to lure them out of their identity and savings.

It comes as more than 20,000 high street jobs have been placed at risk of redundancy, with Arcadia entering administration and Debenhams facing permanent closure by January 1.

SAFERjobs, which was set up by the Metropolitan Police, is warning of a spike as more people are out of work due to the spread of  coronavirus.

Now, the not-for-profit campaign says that it has received 800 reports of job scams since the pandemic started, according to a Daily Mail report.

It said job scams are up 65% year-on-year, with the total number set to be higher as many people don't report scams.

High street bloodbath: Thousands of jobs are on the line after Arcadia, the brand behind Topshop, collapsed on Monday
(Image: Getty Images)

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The scams are extremely sophisticated often using fake recruitment agencies, conducting lengthy interviews with applicants, and even providing victims with company email addresses to carry out work.

In some cases, applicants will be asked to pay for online training in order to be considered for the role.

These courses look like they are run by professional bodies – and some even provide a certificate.

Have you been targeted by a recruitment scammer? Get in touch: [email protected]

But in reality, the courses are not recognised, and the promised jobs at the end are non existent.

Other unscrupulous tactics involve asking applicants to pay for criminal checks, in order to secure a new role.

Others say they can improve CVs for a specific fee – a long-running scam that has been known to cost students tens of thousands of pounds.

In many cases, applicants are also often told to calls premium rate phone lines for interviews and even conned into participating in money laundering via work-from-home scams.

One victim of jobs fraud  told the Daily Mail that she was scammed out of thousands of pounds in unpaid salary, as well as unknowingly being used to interview other people for nonexistent jobs.

Another reported having to pay £29 fees for a criminal check from a spoof Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) website. A third was tricked into paying £260 for a fake professional course.

In another type of employment fraud, the applicant is lured into parting with personal details in the hunt for a new role, which can then be used to commit financial fraud.

The scammers ask for details such as passport numbers, date of birth, marital status, full addresses, bank account numbers and driving license numbers.

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