Police are urging jobseekers to be wary of a scam that has so far affected 20 people across West Yorkshire. They are also appealing for more victims of the scam to contact them.
In every district of West Yorkshire, officers have received reports that jobseekers, usually aged 18-22, have lost hundreds of pounds after responding to fraudulent adverts on job websites, having phone interviews and being tricked into giving their bank details.
A force spokesman said: “All the cases are similar and follow a pattern whereby a jobseeker sees a job advertised on a website. After applying to a hotmail email address, rather than a company’s email, the victims have received a phone call from a man purporting to be from the company advertising the vacancy.
“A brief phone interview takes place and the victims are asked for their bank details so that a credit check can be carried out against them.
“Days later, the victims receive a further call from the fraudster, telling them that money has been paid into their accounts by mistake.
“This has happened several times to the same victim in some cases. In each case, when the victims pay the money back to the suspect, they discover that loans have been taken out in their names and it is this money that they have given to the fraudster.”
A 25-year old Huddersfield man has been arrested in connection with the fraud and is currently on bail pending further enquiries.
Police are appealing for other victims to contact PC 377 Lynsey Fitzgerald via 101.
They added that in one such case, a 20-year old Leeds woman thought she had applied for a job at Harvey Nichols in Leeds.
She was called by a man pretending to be from the store, an interview was carried out and bank details requested.
Several days later the woman received a call to say that £400 had been paid into her account by mistake.
After transferring the money to an account provided by the suspect, the woman was for targeted for another £400.
She was then told that her job interview had been postponed. It was after this call that she realised that a loan had been taken in her name.
Police are also urging people not to provide bank details to people over the phone and are reiterating that the only time such details would be exchanged in a job application would be in writing at the point of formally accepting a job.