Job hunters warned to be vigilant as scammers target graduates

A study has shown that graduates and students are at risk of being scammed when looking for their first job.

As the new university term begins, a study by CV-Library has revealed that graduate job hunters are being targeted by online scammers, with one in three job scam victims admitting they are either currently at university or graduated within the last year.

However, the majority of graduates are unaware of the threat, with 82.4 per cent believing they are not being targeted.

The study of 10,000 UK candidates finds that of those that have been targeted, almost half (46.7 per cent) suffered financial loss, parting with up to £2,600; a hefty fee for any student.

A third (33.7 per cent) of students feel vulnerable when job hunting, and 41.9 per cent of students admit that they wouldn’t know the signs of a scam.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library says that scammers are targeting a cohort that is unaware of the threats and potential impacts of job fraud.

He adds, ‘Our findings suggest that a large proportion of young people would not recognise what a job scam might look like and this is extremely concerning.’

While there are some great career opportunities out there for this age group, it’s also a crowded market, Biggins says.

Job hunters advised to be vigilant

‘This means that an element of desperation can set in among graduates which scammers will sniff out and take advantage of. Job hunters should stay vigilant.’

According to the research, nearly three quarters of respondents (72.3 per cent) do not think enough is being done to prevent job scams, with 82.9 per cent revealing that they were not offered advice from their college or university on staying safe online.

This is despite the fact that 19.7 per cent believe that more advice from universities on conducting a safe job hunt would protect young job hunters.

CV-Library, in conjunction with SAFERjobs reveals the following warning signs could indicate a job scam:

  • Personal email addresses i.e.
  • Regular spelling and grammatical mistakes, which could indicate poor translation
  • Unrealistic salaries (if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is)
  • Stating ‘No Experience Necessary’ as a job title
  • A job offer without an interview
  • Extortionate DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) costs (anything over £75 should be queried), or requesting a candidate to pay for a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau), which no longer exists
  • Premium rate phone numbers for interviews
  • Illegitimate company names and web addresses

Further reading on job market

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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