Recently I was watching ABC News 24, and there was a pop up to say that scammers are targeting job seekers on recruitment websites, and I was, of course, intrigued. So I googled the story and found that it’s a scam where people apply for a job and are asked to send through things such as a copy of their driver’s licence, passport and tax file number. How can you protect yourself? Well firstly, let’s consider why a recruiter or future employer would ask for this kind of information, and when they should ask you for it.
Proof of working rights
This is an important and legitimate request. Before representing you for either casual / temporary or contract / permanent work, people2people are required to ensure that you have the appropriate working rights to undertake the work. Basically, it is illegal for us to represent you for a job if you are unable (legally) to do it. Therefore, it is both reasonable and right for an agency (and ergo an employer to ask you to provide proof of your working rights in Australia). BUT – the need to confirm your working rights needs to be weighed with your rights to privacy and the very real need to ensure that any private information is confidential. At people2people, we ask you to bring your ID and proof of working rights in for your interview. We don’t ask people to email them through without having spoken to you or met with you first.
I would suggest that if you get a response to a job advertisement asking you to send through copies of passports and driver’s licences, I would call the company and speak to the person requesting the information, first. Be smart and check that it’s a legitimate request. And when I say call the office, don’t call the number on the email – google the company’s office and call the main number and ask to speak to the person, specifically. You will find out very quickly if the request is a scam!
When should you provide your tax file number?
You should only be required to provide your tax file number (and remember that you are not required by law to provide an employer with your tax file number at all) when you have actually been offered a job and have accepted it. There is no need to request it from ALL job applicants. If scammers are placing jobs on SEEK, you are not going to always be able to tell if it’s a legitimate role. They will be very clever and it will look like you are applying to a real job. But if you are asked to send through copies of your identity (driver’s licence, passport, banking or tax details) and you have NOT actually met with someone from the company – make sure you ring the office and speak with them first.