Job seekers targeted by bank account scammers

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FRAUDSTERS are targeting job hunters in Edinburgh who post their CVs on recruitment websites in a bid to steal cash from their bank accounts.

Residents looking for employment have been contacted by the con artists offering work but asking for bank details to pay wages.

City business leaders today branded the scam as “the lowest of the low” by exploiting “vulnerable” job seekers.

One Sighthill man told the Evening News that he was offered a driving job after posting his CV on a leading job site.

The fraudsters acquired his bank information and set up a direct debit to take his funds, but the man stopped his account being raided.

Police warned job hunters to verify the credentials of anyone requesting bank account details.

Victims of so-called “recruitment fraud” are contacted by scammers, usually via e-mail, after posting their CVs on job websites in an effort to catch the eye of prospective
employers.

Gordon Henderson, senior development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Edinburgh, said: “Anyone who targets someone who is unemployed or looking for a new job is the lowest of the low.

“In this economy there are a lot of vulnerable people out there looking for work and to try and take advantage of them is deplorable.

“It’s not just individuals who are being targeted by similar frauds. Businesses are also being contacted for a variety of scams.

“We are told about one or two new frauds a month.”

Councillor Cammy Day, the city’s community safety leader, said: “It’s despicable that these fraudsters are targeting people who are doing their best to find work in these difficult economic times.

“Our advice is to take sensible precautions, never give out sensitive personal details such as bank details unless you are certain you know who you are dealing with.”

Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, encourages anyone who has fallen victim to recruitment scams to contact them.

A spokeswoman said: “Some fraudsters will request that the applicant pays a fee in order to apply for the job. In other instances the victim’s bank details are obtained by employment fraudsters as they claim that the details will be used to pay the applicant’s salary. Money is then stolen from their bank account.

“In reality, there is no job and any fees paid go straight to the fraudsters.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We would always encourage people to verify the credentials of anyone requesting bank account details online.”

‘IT WAS ALL DONE By e-mail’

A CARE worker from Sighthill is among the victims who have been targeted by recruitment fraudsters.

The 42-year-old man, who asked not to be named, said: “I started receiving e-mails about a driving job in Edinburgh. We e-mailed back and forward and then they told me I had the job. I never spoke to anyone or met anyone, it was all done by e-mail.

“They told me they would pay £480 in advance before I started work, which I thought was strange, but I was looking forward to the new job.

“I gave them my bank details so they could put in the money. Then, when I went to check my bank account online, I saw that a direct debit for a company name I didn’t recognise had been set up. I quickly went to my bank to have it stopped.”

He added: “I got another job offer last week to work in a stockroom and asking for my bank account and passport details.”