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Scammers prey on jobseekers with fake job ads sent on WhatsApp and text messages

Find out how to spot, avoid and report these employment scams

Amid the cost of living crisis, fraudsters are impersonating recruiters with promises of better-paid and more flexible work.

These devious scams are circulating on text message and WhatsApp and are designed to get you to part with your details. 

Find out how to spot, avoid and report these employment scams.

Sign up for free Which? scam alerts to find out about the latest scams news and advice.

Fake job offer texts

These tempting offers are designed to make you act first and think later.

Which? has seen a few variations of this scam sent via WhatsApp, text message and email. 

One example is a text message, which typically comes from an unrecognisable number-filled email address, and states:

‘Hello! We are a regular online recruitment game company, there is no time limit and location limit, the work is very simple, you can do it at home, and the manager teaches you to make money and do things. Salary £50-300, please add WhatsApp to receive jobs.’

The message also includes a link to a WhatsApp contact number.

Other examples include promises of easy work with statements such as 'easy job, can do at home' or ‘earn a daily wage from your mobile phone’. Often these messages also claim that you need no experience.

Lots of these scams try to create a sense of urgency in the messages, by claiming that a ‘Quota is limited for today only'.

How to spot a message scam

Employment scams, like these, typically involve a scammer impersonating a recruiter and luring victims in with promises of work that don't exist. 

This theatrical scam will often start with the scammer asking for your personal information, either your CV or send you a questionnaire to complete, you may then be asked to pay fees for administration or travel. 

Genuine recruiters shouldn't contact jobseekers in this way, so as a general rule of thumb it's best to ignore tempting job offers sent via text message.

It may not always be obvious to spot a job ad scam, but here are some giveaways that you're dealing with a scammer:

  • It's a message that you weren't expecting.
  • It comes from a number or email address you don't recognise. 
  • It contains a link - it's best to avoid clicking on links in messages in case they contain malware that could be installed on your device.
  • It offers unrealistic salaries or working arrangements - if it's too good to be true then it probably is. 
  • You're being asked for money or personal details, such as your CV.
  • The advert is poorly written and contains spelling errors.

Reporting sham job offers

Don't respond or follow any links and don't be tempted to give away personal information, such as your CV, or financial information.

If you've already shared information with a potential scammer, you should report the scam to Action Fraud, or the police if you live in Scotland, and notify your bank. 

You can also report scam texts by forwarding them to 7726 - a free reporting service provided by phone operators. Then delete the message. Scam emails can be reported by forwarding the email to report@phishing.gov.uk.

To understand more about this type of scam, read our guide on job scams and employment fraud.