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UK Graduates Targeted by Online Job Scammers


As the new university term begins, new research reveals that students and graduates 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% believing they are not being targeted.

The study of 10,000 UK candidates from job site, CV-Library, in partnership with the e-crime non-profit organisation, SAFERjobs, found that of those that have been targeted, almost half (46.7%) suffered financial loss, parting with up to £2,600; a hefty fee for any student. Other key findings include:

  • 71.5% of job-hunters think scammers target those looking for their first job
  • BUT only 17% of students agree with this statement
  •  A third (33.7%) of students feel vulnerable when job hunting
  • …with 41.9% of students admitting that they wouldn’t know the signs of a scam

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments:

“This is an exciting time of year for students and graduates, who will be starting to think about their first job post-university. But, this could be hindered by the fact that scammers are out there targeting a cohort that is unaware of the threats and potential impacts of job fraud. 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.

“After all, while there are some great career opportunities out there for this age group, it’s also a crowded market. This means that an element of desperation can set in amongst graduates which scammers will sniff out and take advantage of. Job hunters should stay vigilant. At CV-Library, we proactively work to reduce fraudulent job postings and protect our candidates; anyone looking for jobs online should use a site that partners with SAFERjobs as this is an indication that they are taking a proactive stance to combat the issue.”

According to the research, nearly three quarters of respondents (72.3%) do not think enough is being done to prevent job scams, with 82.9% revealing that they were not offered advice from their college or university on staying safe online. This is despite the fact that 19.7% believe that more advice from universities on conducting a safe job hunt would protect young job seekers.

Other actions that participants thought could be taken included more awareness being made across the recruitment industry (20%) and increased partnerships between job sites and organisations such as SAFERjobs (17.3%).

Keith Rosser, chair of SAFERjobs, adds:

“We are working to highlight the importance of staying safe online, particularly within the student and graduate market, where less experience could mean higher vulnerability. Any job seeker can get free, expert advice at SAFERjobs; understanding the signs to look out for is crucial, whether this be an unrealistic looking salary, a job which requires no experience or a posting which is full of spelling mistakes.

“Raising awareness is something we are very passionate about, especially as the issue is more prevalent now than ever. It’s vital that job hunters only use job sites that are working in partnership with SAFERjobs. With the right help, and confidence to ask the right questions, people of all ages can continue on their job hunt safely.”

SAFERjobs and CV-Library are working in conjunction to make online job searching safer for UK workers and advise that 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

Learn more about CV-Library at and SAFERjobs at