Covid-19 has left a scarcity of employment around the country. Many people have been furloughed or laid off due to the pandemic. As a result, there has been a massive increase in upfront fee scams. Many warnings have been sent out to job seekers around the U.K to be careful about such scams, as they could end up losing lots of money.
What is the upfront fee scam?
The upfront fee scam involves money taken from you for something else to happen. Typical examples are spam emails stating you’ve won the lottery in a foreign country or a long lost relative has died and left you a large sum of money behind. The catch of such scams is to send money to the notifier so that the funds can be released to you.
The upfront fee scam is very much similar to this. When browsing for a job, applicants often come across an advert notifying them of a remarkable opportunity. At first, it seems like a life-changing experience; however, once they’ve applied, they need to pay a processing fee. If not a processing fee, a registration fee or some fee, to get their dream role. However, once the money gets sent, the job fails to exist.
Farm work and DBS checks
A significant example of this scam was during the pandemic many applicants were trying to apply to a company which offered farm work. Due to COVID-19, less agricultural workers were able to come to the U.K from abroad leaving a major shortage in fruit and vegetable pickers in the U.K.
Therefore people who were furloughed, school leavers and university students were encouraged to sign up to partake in farm work. There was even a website set up known as Pick For Britain showcasing many openings matching farmers with volunteers in the local area, free of charge.
Joining the bandwagon, other recruitment companies in the U.K decided to take part in this scheme. Their method has involved headhunting sixth form students and young people, offering them work. However, not every recruiter have been transparent in their way of recruiting.
One sixth form student mentioned she registered for farm work through an online portal. Once registered, the agency told her she would have to pay a fee of $58 first for an enhanced DBS check. However, to undergo this type of manual labour, criminal records are not required.
An enhanced DBS check is only needed if a person is working with young children or vulnerable adults. This type of scam exposes the vulnerable who do not know fully about the DBS system.
Paying for your DBS check
One of the primary reasons why this type of scam works is because they have some element of truth in them. Sometimes, workers in industries are required to pay for their DBS check. One of the most common sectors, which does this is the care sector.
Whereas some employers may ask you to pay and they will refund the fee in your first payment. It’s important to know that this is fully legal and not a scam. However, whatever role you apply for, make sure you need a DBS check for that role, and you do not need to pay an excessive amount to process.