Editor’s note: Avoid Chef Job Scams was originally published in December 2016 and most recently updated in May 2022.
The internet can facilitate many positive things in daily life. But it’s also a place for things that are less so. Like scam artists looking to exploit and profit from people going about their genuine business online.
It is wrong to think scams only exist only where e-commerce is taking place, because there’s great value in personal data.
Significant personal data is shared in a typical employment process. If it isn’t on your radar already to safeguard personal data, it needs to be. Becoming aware of how to avoid chef job scams is important information to know. Being vigilant in a recruitment process for scams should be a second nature habit, like the belt and braces checks made before buying things online.
Avoid chef job scams when it comes to recruitment
Recruitment scams aren’t dramatically different to other digital scams you may be aware of already. For scam artists, it’s a numbers game. They send out thousands of emails, with the hope that even just a fraction of them are successful.
When you’re focused on getting a new chef job, the desire to believe that an opportunity is legitimate is very strong. This is what fraudsters rely on and shamelessly exploit.
They will pose as a recruiter and usually contact you via email. They want you to believe the email is coming from someone legitimate, and will try to convince you to give them something in return for the potential of landing their FAKE job. This will usually be personal information or money.
The process of scamming is most often a well practised routine, that’s been mapped out in plausible stages relating to the applicant process, so it’s important to remain vigilant at all times.
What could a chef job scam look like?
1. You’re asked for money to register to their candidate database so you’re eligible to be considered for their fake job.
2. Fraudsters ask you for money to write your CV or carry out security and police checks.
3. You’re asked to pay for expensive training programmes which don’t exist.
4. Fraudsters ask you to pay for travel-agent fees or pay for immigration lawyers, if you’re being considered for a fake role overseas. In reality, there is no job and any fees paid go straight to the fraudsters.
Premium-rate phone scams
As the potential candidate, you’re told to call a number and given the impression of having an initial phone interview, but you’re kept on hold for very long time at a premium rate cost to you. In some cases, job seekers will be duped into going through a full interview for the fake role at a cost of hundreds of pounds.
Fraudsters tell you that you’ve got the job and ask for your bank account details to set up salary payments. They will use these details to steal money from your account.
If something sounds odd, too good to be true, unusual in comparison to standard industry recruitment practices that you’ve encountered to date, then listen to that alarm bell ringing between your ears. Step back and take time out telling the ‘recruiter’ you will think about their offer.
And it is important to remember that however keen you are to secure work and however desperate you are to earn, if you have concerns around a chef job application process it is always better to leave it behind. There will be a job for you. And it could be the very next job that you hear about or find online.
Avoid chef job scams – protect yourself against chef job scams
Do not include the following details on your CV:
Your date of birth
Your full address
Driving licence number
National Insurance number
Marital status and number of children
Credit card or bank account numbers
Weight and height
Hair and eye colour
Be wary of emails from addresses that can be set up for free, such as those from Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo – it’s highly unlikely a reputable recruitment agency or business would be using such email addresses.
Look out for bad spelling, punctuation or irregular fonts. These are often clear signs of a mass-distribution email hoax.
Search online for the person and the company that’s contacted you. Look up the names you are given plus the words scam, review or complaint. And review what’s returned. Likewise check LinkedIn for the recruiter’s profile and see if they are legitimately working for a company with the name that you’ve been given.
Beware of sites that redirect you to other sites, even if the change is subtle like taking you from a .co.uk website to a .com site.
Beware of sites that ask you for money just to apply or be listed on a directory of jobseekers.
Don’t give out banking information to any potential employer during the application phase.
Once you’ve secured and started a new a chef job, it is common for your employer to request your bank details so they can pay your salary direct to your account, but there is no reason why they would need this information before then.
Check official records to confirm that the organisation offering you the job actually exists. If it does, contact the organisation directly through officially listed contact details to confirm the job offer is genuine.
Ask the embassy representing the country where you believe you will be working how to obtain a visa and how much it costs. Check that the answers the potential employer gave you are the same – if they’re not, it may be a sign of fraud.
Tell the employer that you will make your own travel and accommodation arrangements. Beware if they try hard to dissuade you or tell you that you have to use the agency they refer you to.
What to do if you fall victim to a chef job scam
1. Stop all communication with the ‘agency’.
2. Collate all the information you have regarding the scam and report it to the police.
3. If there is a specialist body that deals with online crime they will signpost you to it.
4. If you’ve given them any money, contact your bank immediately.
5. Warn the operators of the website where you placed your CV that their site is being used by fraudsters.
6. Don’t give any more money to the scammers.
Avoid chef job scams, in conclusion
Don’t fall into despair around becoming a victim. Even if you’ve familiarised yourself with how to avoid chef job scams we’re all fallible. It can happen to anybody and you should not shoulder any shame for others’ mindful and purposeful criminal intentions.
Their actions were always intended to hurt others.
Yours were only ever intended to secure your next chef job.
Stay safe, chef.