Top 10 tips to avoid scams as a contractor recruitment agency

Staffing companies and EOR providers need to be on their guard right now against sophisticated scams targeting both them and the contract recruitment industry, writes Simon Duff, director of Leap29.

These scams potentially cost companies hundreds of thousands of pounds or euros. Here, exclusively for ContractorUK, are my 10 top tips to help recruitment companies and contractors avoid falling victim to both scams and outright fraud.

Tip 1: Verify email address and signature

One of the first things to do is to verify the email address and signature of the supposed ‘client.’

Scammers often create email addresses that look almost identical to those of legitimate companies.

It is essential to scrutinise every detail, including the signature and the company's logo. If anything seems off, contact the company to verify the email's authenticity.

Tip 2: Be sceptical of clients with urgent requirements

Scammers often create a sense of urgency to get recruitment companies to act fast without verifying the legitimacy of the job or contract posting.

Avoid taking on clients with overly urgent requirements, especially those that require an immediate response or ridiculously fast turnaround time.

Tip 3: Don't accept CVs from outside sources

Scammers often use fake CVs to lure recruitment companies into their web.

It is essential to have strict procedures in place and to only accept CVs directly from the candidate, rather than from third-party sources.

Tip 4: Verify the client's contact information

Before engaging with the ‘client,’ verify their contact information, including phone number and email address.

Using Google, try calling the company's official phone numbers to verify the legitimacy of the person you spoke to or are in contact with, and check their details are genuine.

Tip 5: Verify the job or contract posting

Verify that the job or contract posting is legitimate and that it has been posted on the company's official website or job board.

Avoid taking on clients with postings that appear to be fraudulent or that have not been verified.

Tip 6: Use multiple points of contact

If your company provides a credit facility, ensure that you have multiple points of contact within the client's ‘Accounts Payable’ department. This will ensure that you can verify contacts and follow-up on payments.

Tip 7: Be wary of extremely young limited companies

Scammers often create limited companies to appear more legitimate. Ensure that you verify the existence of the company and its ownership through Companies House or with the help of a professional service.

Be extra inquisitive if the company of ‘the candidate’ was formed in the immediate days running up to their contact with you.

Tip 8: Verify contacts on LinkedIn

Verify the identity and legitimacy of contacts using professional networking website LinkedIn, and verify their said-status/job title with the company switchboard.

Tip 9: Verify bank details via video call

Always verify bank details via video call if in doubt. This will help ensure that you are speaking with the actual client and that the bank details are legitimate.

Tip 10: Make sure your camera is on and can be used quickly

As I did, make sure your web camera is working properly before you make the video call.

Upon our business being targeted for the third time, I managed to get the scammer to turn on their camera, so I was able to take a screenshot of their face. Such photographic evidence can prove enormously helpful should you reach out to the police or other authorities.

Finally, take care out there – from the outset...

In summary, it is essential to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to avoid falling victim to sophisticated scams in the contract recruitment industry.

By verifying contact details, job postings, and using multiple points of contact, contractor recruitment companies can reduce their risk of falling victim to these types of scams. As the saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Tuesday 2nd May 2023
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Written by Simon Duff

Simon Duff is the Global Operations Director at Leap29, a world-leading global recruitment and Employer of Record (EOR) partner. With 15 years of experience in recruitment and global employment management, Simon has a proven track record and knowledge of successfully building and leading teams that deliver exceptional results.

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