Careers ServiceStaying safe and spotting scams

The Careers Service reviews each job advertisement it places. This is to ensure jobs are genuine, lawful, and non-discriminatory.

You may occasionally see jobs that are not genuine. Their only purpose is to take advantage of you as a job seeker, usually financially.

Sometimes these are illegal. Often they exploit loopholes or grey areas in the law. Or they rely on the applicant not reading and understanding what they are getting into. These are often called 'scams' or in some cases 'phishing'. This is where attempts are made to obtain your financial/personal data for fraudulent purposes.

Tips for avoiding scam jobs

  1. The UK Financial Conduct Authority has advice on Money Transfer Scams.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true (e.g. a high rate of pay), it probably is.
  3. If a company asks you to ring a premium rate number as the only way to apply, be very wary.
  4. Be suspicious if directed to different numbers, websites or a different company name than the one in the advert you responded to. This may be done to hide a bad reputation or a scam.
  5. Avoid schemes where you make money by signing up new members to sell for you.
  6. Make sure you ask questions about the job if you are unsure.
  7. Do not be pressurised to sign up to anything you do not fully understand.
  8. Be wary of any employer who asks you to invest money (never send money to employers) or to pay for training or stock before starting work.
  9. When you first apply do not provide bank or financial information, passport or similar identification. These might be required later, but only if you get the job.

 If in doubt:

  • do not apply for the job
  • do not agree to sign anything
  • do not pay for any services on offer
  • do not return any contact with the organisation
  • ask the Careers Service for a second opinion

Get advice on scams

There are increasing numbers of websites that provide advice on online fraud, scams and identity theft. These include some written by the banks and different police authorities across the UK. You can find these from a google search. Try Googling the company name and “scam” to see if other people have reported issues.

The UK Government's Disclosure and Barring Service launched a campaign to raise awareness of job scams and employment fraud among job seekers. This was done in partnership JobsAware. They are a non-profit organisation that helps people avoid and report job scams and other unfair working practices. If you suspect you have fallen victim to a job scam, or are being targeted, report the company and/or website to JobsAware I think I've been scammed.

You can also get advice on what your chances are of recovering any money that you might have paid.

Keep copies of all correspondence about the job. Write down names, dates, websites, email addresses, and everything you can remember.

If the vacancy was inadvertently advertised through the Careers Service or on campus, please tell us immediately. Email so we can withdraw the advert.

Citizens Advice Scotland has information on Common Scams.

Staying safe


  • check that the interview will be in a public place or at a registered office
  • always tell someone where you are going and keep your phone switched on

Working alone or at night:

  • always consider your own safety
  • tell family/friends where you are and when you should be back
  • make sure you understand what you are expected to do, and any risks involved
  • make sure you fully understand any emergency procedures
  • make sure you have access to a first-aid kit
  • make sure you have regular contact with your employer
  • tell your employer about any medical conditions that may put you at risk when working alone

For more advice on personal safety see the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.