We primarily associate the Disclosure and Barring Service with the disclosure checking process – the criminal records checks which are carried out on many new employees. But this isn’t all they do, and recently the DBS has teamed up with campaign groups JobsAware and Cifas to raise awareness of scam practices in the jobs market, and let people know about how any information gained through a scam might go on to be used in the future.


Spotting a Scam

Scam job adverts increased rapidly through the pandemic, as scammers tried to take advantage of people who suddenly found themselves out of work. Scam postings were particularly acute in the temporary or seasonal jobs marker, with an 88% increase in 2020 compared with 2019. If you’re a job seeker, it’s more likely that not that you will see one of those postings sooner rather than later. The key things to be on the lookout for when searching for a job online or in the newspaper are:

  • Grammatical or spelling mistakes in the advertisement
  • A company which can’t be found on the internet
  • Salary well above the going rate
  • Positions advertised as an immediate start without interview
  • Requests for payment for administration charges, or other fees


Identity Fraud

Often, the aim of these job adverts is to get as much personal information from you as possible, so that the fraudsters can then go on and take out loans or order products in your name. Identity fraud is also on the increase and Cifas, the fraud prevention agency, estimates that someone in the UK falls victim to identity fraud every 2.5 minutes. When reading through a job advertisement online stop and think: is it reasonable and normal to be asked for your national insurance number, bank details, passport, and other proof of identity documents before you’ve even had an interview?

A genuine employer will usually ask to see your passport as proof of your right to work in the UK, but only when you are called to interview or actually offered the job. Always stop to think about whether you really want to share all of your personal information, and if in doubt, do a lot of research into the company you are dealing with first. Similarly, DBS checks are required for many positions, but you should not be asked to pay for a DBS check before you have been offered a position, and many companies won’t ask you to pay at all.


Who are JobsAware and Cifas?

JobsAware is a government funded organisation which gives advice and information on all sorts of fraud concerned with the jobs market. Cifas is the industry body for preventing fraud in the financial sector. Its membership is made up of banks, building societies and other financial institutions who all share information about current scam practices. Both of these organisations have their own websites with lots more information about how to spot a scam and what to do if you are the victim o a scam job advertisement.