Gumtree warns of online job scams

Online marketplace Gumtree has warned that “unscrupulous criminals are quick to take advantage of desperate job seekers by placing fake job adverts‚ demanding fees for job placement or contacting them with fake offers”.

“Women have also found themselves subject to harassment by men who pose as employers and demand illicit photographs in order to secure fake jobs‚” Gumtree’s head of marketing Claire Cobbledick said on Tuesday.

While scams are on the increase with an unemployment rate of just over 25%‚ you can protect yourself against bogus advertisers‚ by following simple guidelines.

These include‚ according to Cobbledick:

- Google the company. “If the company does not reveal their name in the advert — as many don’t — send a very polite email requesting further details about the position and the business… Make sure that the address and phone numbers exist – a quick view on Google Maps will confirm.”

- Don’t divulge too much information. “Provide a phone number and your email‚ but do not provide information that’s not necessary. Advertisers that ask for information such as a copy of your ID‚ your banking details‚ your credit card number and other personal details without so much as an interview are dubious.”

- Be wary of advertisers asking for photographs to accompany applications. “Even if the job is based on physical appearance – like professional modeling – a professional would require a portfolio and a face-to-face.”

Cobbledick said that another trick that would-be job scammers employ is to offer jobs on condition that applicants pay for “training materials” when “they should be paying you”.

“If it’s the other way around‚ warning bells should go off‚” she said.

But most important‚ Cobbledick said‚ is not to “put yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe”.

“If your gut tells you that something is wrong‚ don’t proceed. You are under no obligation to respond to messages‚” she said.

“There are thousands of legitimate job opportunities and adverts to choose from. It’s tough‚ but wait for the right one to come along.”

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