Job seekers scammed out of hundreds of pounds

John Philips Scam

A fraudster going by the name of John Phillips is alleged to have scammed hundreds of job seekers out of thousands of pounds.

A BBC investigation into the scam revealed the so called Mr Phillips was defrauding unsuspecting job seekers out of anything from £50 to £480 a time, with the promise of a job and an ‘accreditation’ for the position.

The money itself was sought from each individual with the promise that this ‘accreditation’ fee would be returned to them in their first pay packet, or in some cases, a few months into the position.

In some cases the scam went even further by not only gaining fees for accreditation, but also by hiring that person to then continue to recruit more people and gain even more fees through deception.

In many cases it has been reported that interviews for Human Resource Assistant positions were carried out in hotels and cafés. Of course, the candidate was successful but wasn’t allowed to start until the fake accreditation had been paid for.

Many people fell victim to this scam worked for weeks and even months, never once receiving any pay or the promised refund for the fees. There are also reportedly lots of instances where the employee didn’t actually ever receive a start date and never heard again from Mr Phillips.

Safer Jobs, who are an agency tasked with fighting this kind of fraud, said it was the “biggest scam of this kind they’d ever seen”.

The BBC’s Inside Out London programme uncovered that Mr Phillips, who is also believed to have a number of other aliases, created up to 10 fake companies which had professional and realistic looking websites to carry out the scam. It has also been found that the scam could have been operating since 2012.

When Mr Phillips was confronted by the BBC he claimed to have no knowledge or understanding of what he was being accused of. No further comment was made on the matter, and a hasty retreat by Mr Phillips was the only result.

This is not the only time vulnerable jobseekers have been scammed or taken advantage of.

Another example of how jobseekers are exploited is through unaccredited courses – typically advertised online. Anyone can take one of these courses with the promise of a “qualification” or “degree” at the end of it, but a fee has to be paid in order to do so.

The unfortunate truth is that employers know what to expect when looking through CVs and qualifications, and are aware of what is an actual ‘accredited degree’ or professional qualification.

Anything this isn’t accredited by a professional body is typically not respected by an employer, and therefore renders the course and the qualifications useless and a waste of time to the job seeker who may have spent many hours of time and effort – as well as hundreds of pounds.

Why is accreditation important to an employer?

Accreditation indicates a level of quality and assurance, as well as a good level of consistency for the curriculum. Without the accreditation there is no real understanding of the course by the employer, or any actual trust that the qualification gained is going to be to the standard which is required to use that knowledge in a job role.

The scammers make it all too easy to fall victim of these courses, as they promise a swift and easy way to gain a qualification. This preys on vulnerable job seekers who are potentially desperate for work and understand the need for a degree or qualification to stand any chance against the competition.

With literally as many as hundreds of applications being sent for the same role, the need for qualifications is huge, making this type of online scam even more popular.

Image source and investigation: BBC News

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