Please take extra care to validate workers and bookings, as scams targeting recruitment agencies are growing more sophisticated and one of our clients has recently been targeted by criminals. We have seen reports of similar incidents in the recruitment industry press, so this is not an isolated incident.
This type of deception, which involves both corporate identity fraud and personal identity theft, exposes unsuspecting agencies to extensive losses.
The scammers pose as employees of an established company, offering a chance to fill vacancies and get on their PSL. They will appear convincing, possibly engaging you in lengthy calls and making you feel that you are bidding for their business. They may communicate on official looking email addresses and a landline number as well as a mobile.
A credit check (on the genuine company they have posed as representing) will provide a healthy limit and so you will have no reason to doubt them. A few days later, the recruiter is supplied with temp bookings, and in a subsequent email, all the details for ideal candidates who the company have already used. It sounds too good to be true and it is.
Signed timesheets are submitted from the temps each week, workers are paid, the client is invoiced and everything runs smoothly at first. It might only be when the account is chased that you discover that the landline is dead, the website is down and the temps are not answering their phones. Everyone has vanished, the agency has no contract with the genuine company and is left with a large bill for wages paid to bogus workers.
So, to protect your agency, please ensure that all your consultants are taking the following precautions:
When contacted by new clients placing bookings, don’t take them at face value. Do some discreet checking that the person works for the company. Find the number for head office via another source and phone it, asking to double check a direct line or email address for your contact. Check social media. Offer to visit the client at their premises if a large amount of work is being put forward.
If a client ever offers jobs and workers, be very suspicious. Ensure that you meet the workers in person and don’t just take emailed AML documents as these may be fake or stolen. Don’t register temporary workers offered by a client where they aren’t available to speak to you and just want email contact.
No matter how lucrative the deal or short the deadline, remember that the scammers are rely on you being too busy to do due diligence checks.