Top tips for jobseekers at risk of ‘fake DBS check’ recruitment scams - The Malvern Observer

Top tips for jobseekers at risk of ‘fake DBS check’ recruitment scams

Malvern Editorial 16th Feb, 2024   0

To coincide with the launch of the Home Office Stop! Think Fraud campaign, the Disclosure & Barring Service is providing support to job seekers for a safer employment search.

Persuading job seekers to pay for a non-existent DBS check is a tactic being used by fraudsters to extract cash from their victims, with this time of year a peak period for scammers to pounce.

Typically referenced as ‘advanced fee scams’, victims are encouraged to pay upfront for ‘recruitment administration’ – including a supposed DBS check to progress with the recruitment offer. Text and WhatsApp messages can be cleverly designed to get jobseekers to part with their details.

Coinciding with the Home Office’s Stop! Think Fraud campaign, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has compiled a list of top tips for job seekers to stay safe from fake DBS check scams in any recruitment search: 

Eligibility criteria – not all positions require a Standard or Enhanced DBS check. These checks are typically necessary for roles like education, health and social care, and security. If your job does not fall into these categories, and you are asked for a DBS check, it might be a fraudulent request. Check the eligibility criteria or consult with DBS. Information is provided online.

Outdated requests – be aware of outdated requests using archaic terminology. In 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (or the CRB) as it was known then was replaced by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales. If someone is still asking for money for a ‘CRB check’, it is time to investigate further. Genuine requests will reference the current DBS system.




DBS Logo – organisations that are registered with DBS are not permitted to use the DBS logo on their websites. If a website contains the DBS logo it could indicate it is not genuine.

Verification process – always enquire about who is processing the DBS check. If it’s the employer, contact DBS or Disclosure Scotland to confirm their legitimacy. If it’s an Umbrella Body that is carrying out DBS checks on behalf of other employers, verify their authenticity and ensure the employer is registered to use their service. A list of Umbrella Bodies is available online, so you can check and see if the organisation appears and is legitimate.


Industry Bodies – for those in the security industry, usually only the Security Industry Authority (SIA) is permitted to run checks for this line of work. If you’re asked for upfront payment for a check, verify its authenticity. Stay vigilant, especially when it comes to industry-specific regulations.

Cost Consideration – the cost for a Basic check is £18 and is available for any position. A standard check costs £18, is available for certain roles and shows convictions and cautions held on the Police National Computer (PNC), subject to filtering. An Enhanced check costs £38 and is sent to police forces so they can carry out searches on their local intelligence systems and decide if any relevant information should be released. An Enhanced check with Barred Lists is also £38 for those involved in regulated activity.

Organisations that are registered with DBS may charge an administration fee for the service they are providing. This is separate from the DBS fee. However, be cautious if you are asked to pay exorbitant amounts. Most legitimate organisations are looking to get you to the onboarding process and won’t demand upfront payment. If in doubt, refrain from parting with any money during the recruitment process.

DBS is set to deliver a LinkedIn webinar sharing tips and sector guidance to support job seekers to stay safe throughout their employment search. The webinar will take place on Wednesday 21st February from 2pm and will last around 15 minutes. DBS will be monitoring and responding to any comments or questions while the webinar is live.

Ian Johnston, Executive Director of Operational Services at DBS, said

“Hasty and decisive action is essential when combatting job scammers. By following these steps, job seekers can minimise the effects of illegal scams and make the job-searching journey safer.

DBS’ Regional Outreach team can also provide localised support to organisations and networks to offer support and guidance around all things safeguarding. DBS remains committed to providing thorough guidance and support around the importance of staying vigilant in the ever-evolving landscape of job scams.”

Government Anti-Fraud Champion, MP Simon Fell said:

“Fraudsters are masters of deceit who create a false sense of urgency to try and compel you into taking action.

“Through the Fraud Strategy, we are taking robust action to prevent fraud and that includes the rollout of the new Stop! Think Fraud online hub, which has a wealth of advice on how to spot suspicious messages.

“If you receive a message that doesn’t feel right, take a moment to stop and think about the risk of fraud – don’t immediately respond or click a link. Contact your prospective employer directly, through a number or email address you know is correct.”

Source: Disclosure and Barring Service

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