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Government's Universal Jobmatch Website 'bedevilled With Fraud'

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Let's hope the Grauniad hasn't been, er, premature with this one.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/05/government-universal-jobmatch-website-fraud

A third of a million job vacancies advertised on the government's official website for jobseekers are suspected of being bogus, falsely promoted or against the rules, documents seen by the Guardian show.

Frank Field, a Labour MP and former minister, has established that officials are concerned about more than 350,000 vacancies promoted on the Universal Jobmatch site, which must be used by unemployed people to apply for jobs in order to claim benefits. This amounts to around half of the jobs currently being advertised on the flagship website that Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said would "revolutionise" the process of looking for work.

Field started asking questions about the website after discovering that some of his constituents had been scammed out of money by false employers, who asked for bank details upfront and cash for criminal record checks before disappearing.

He believes the whole website is "bedevilled with fraud" and "out of control", and is calling on Duncan Smith to "get a grip" on the contract, which is managed independently by a private recruiter called Monster.

In a letter to Field, the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that more than 352,659 job adverts might be in breach of the Universal Jobmatch website's terms and conditions. These rules specify that employers must advertise the position fairly and comply with the law, including advertising an "actual job or work opportunity", not using premium rate phone numbers, paying at least the minimum wage and not costing the applicant any money to start.

In a letter dated 27 February, DWP officials are contacting the employers promoting these opportunities to "seek evidence of compliance" within the next five days or face the termination of their accounts. The DWP said this "exercise" would take around three weeks.

It comes after an investigation by Channel 4 News estimated last month that more than 11,000 positions currently advertised on the government's Universal Jobmatch website may not actually exist, ranging from vacancies for sous chefs to dry-cleaners. In its early days, the website was ridiculed for advertising joke jobs for MI5 hitmen, mafia couriers and even prostitutes.

Field claims that many jobseekers have been robbed of large sums of money by a sham company that advertised fake jobs and actually conducted bogus interviews inside a jobcentre. He said the victims were informed that their new employer was a nonentity and that they had been ripped off on arrival at what they expected to be their first day of work.

"The heart of the government's welfare reform programme is bedevilled with fraud and, in its current state, it is out of control," he said. "Anyone can place an advertisement on the site in the space of five minutes by ticking a few boxes. Ministers need to get a grip before more people fall victim to fraudsters preying on them with the helping hand of a major government department."

Field has now asked the National Audit Office to investigate the scale of job fraud as a "matter of urgency".

A spokesman for the DWP said: "Universal Jobmatch revolutionises the way jobseekers look for work and it has already helped many jobseekers find the jobs they want through the millions of vacancies posted since 2012.

"The truth is that the vast majority of employers post genuine jobs, and we crack down on those who don't play by the rules. We also regularly monitor the site and remove jobs that don't meet our rules, such as duplicate advertisements or jobs for franchises."

Channel 4 also had a story on this in February

http://www.channel4.com/news/why-is-government-website-carrying-fake-jobs

More than 11,000 positions currently advertised on the government's Universal Jobmatch website may be bogus, an investigation by Channel 4 News has found.

The jobs, which range from sous chefs to dry cleaners, account for almost one-in-50 of all those posted in Britain on the site and, in some areas, a third of all the jobs available on Jobmatch, may be fake.

Since March 2013 it has been mandatory for all jobseeker's allowance claimants to register and use the Jobmatch website.

Those who fail to do so can have their benefits cut entirely. But if some of the jobs on the site are not genuine, the claimants who have applied for them may have been wasting their time.

The investigation found that nine apparently unconnected recruitment websites, advertising thousands of positions across the UK, are all controlled by one man in Coventry - Mark Coward, a businessman and Baptist deacon who has posted thousands of jobs.

In recent months, Coward has received thousands of pounds for marketing job products at applicants. Jobseekers who answered any one of thousands of ads posted by Coward were encouraged to visit a legitimate recruitment business, CV-Library, using links that showed Coward had recommended them.

He then received £1 for every CV successfully submitted to CV library. Coward later said that most of the original applications submitted to him for the jobs he posted were then simply deleted.

Last year Channel 4 News was contacted by Richard Evens, an out-of-work librarian who had concerns.

At first, Mr Evens was delighted when a raft of library jobs suddenly appeared on the Universal Jobmatch website. Each position was offered in a different area of the country but the job descriptions were identical.

Three companies posted the ads: Thomas Reilly Associates, MF Training and Recruitment Solutions and Que Consultants.

All are controlled by Coward, and his business network has many other identities. Jobs Junction, Career Nationwide, Recruitment 4 Office, Retail Jobs 4U, Career In Caring, and Find My New Job are all controlled by him.

Some of the websites associated with these businesses were registered anonymously but linked back to rental properties owned by Coward in Coventry.

It was under the names of Thomas Reilly Associates Ltd, a dormant recruitment company based at a PO box in London, and Que Consultants, a dissolved recruiter which employed Coward's wife Dionne, that most ads were posted however.

Channel 4 News sought to establish the credibility of some of the adverts listed on the Universal Jobmatch by these firms. It was unable to find a dry cleaning job posted in Greenhithe, Kent, or sous chef position posted in Lairg in the Scottish Highlands.

One in three jobs located in Lairg and available on the Jobmatch website had been posted by Coward.

The search continued but, having failed to find any employers matching the job descriptions posted by the Cowards, we contacted them.

They said that they were unable to verify if the jobs were genuine because all the adverts they uploaded on the Universal Jobmatch website had been harvested by an "offshore outsource company", run by a man called Vikram Mishra in New Delhi.

Channel 4 News was unable to contact Mr Mishra at the address they gave in Delhi, and no trace of the company they claim to work with has been found. The Cowards “categorically reject any accusation that they willingly posted adverts for jobs that weren't authentic”.

This afternoon, CV Library, the firm that paid the Cowards, told us that they have terminated the relationship.

Concerns about the quality of employer vetting on the Universal Jobmatch first emerged in 2012 when hackers posted a job advert for a "Target Elimination Specialist working for the British government" - "particularly suitable", so the ad said, "for those who like their martinis shaken and not stirred".

In response, the Department for Work and Pensions said they would vet employers to ensure that the jobs posted on the site are genuine.

Our investigation places question marks on thousands of them. Tonight the DWP told us: "The vast majority of those employers offer genuine roles for jobseekers to apply for - however we won't hesitate to ban the small minority who try to break the rules and post fraudulent jobs. When possible, it can – and has – led to criminal prosecutions.

"This individual has been suspended from the site and the vacancies removed. We take any allegations of this nature very seriously and will investigate any further evidence Channel 4 provides.”

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It's very sad that the process of gaining work and renting a house is completely unregulated and fraudsters encouraged to operate.

Meanwhile the authorities are busy regulating the color of road cones, the height of park bench and what days you can put your rubbish out.

Anything but regulate something that my shave a tiny percentage off GDP.

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Seems that the policitians really do know the truth behind the sheen and spin and possibility that they are jsut misinformed and thick.

Makes their collective actions even more despicable.

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God knows what thinking is behind it, but those crappy machines in the job centres where just as rife with fraud, and I proved it to the staff frequently (which meant they stopped forcing the jobs on me).

They have to want this, surely? It's no big thing to fix...

Adding to that the huge promotional push of great success that to be unemployed us to be unemployable.

VOMIT!

Edited by Tonkers

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God knows what thinking is behind it, but those crappy machines in the job centres where just as rife with fraud, and I proved it to the staff frequently (which meant they stopped forcing the jobs on me).

They have to want this, surely? It's no big thing to fix...

Adding to that the huge promotional push of great success that to be unemployed us to be unemployable.

VOMIT!

I suspect that not many MPs realised that job hunting websites actually existed before. I think that in the circles that they move in, one does not have to apply for a job (how vulgar!), one simply makes it known to one's contacts that a new opportunity is desirable..

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The criminal record check you have to pay for is a common one.

Most of these questionable practises have been used by letting agents in various guises for years of course.

£100 for a credit check etc etc...

Edited by byron78

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The site seems to have been outsourced to Monster - whose own jobs website is riddled with these non-jobs and scams.

I don't know anyone in my industry who would advertise a job via these websites. Industry-specific outlets are the norm, and increasingly it's all about searching LinkedIn for people with the right skills/experience and contacting them directly.

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The site seems to have been outsourced to Monster - whose own jobs website is riddled with these non-jobs and scams.

increasingly it's all about searching LinkedIn for people with the right skills/experience and contacting them directly.

Gawwwd I hope not, I hate LinkedIn.

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Gawwwd I hope not, I hate LinkedIn.

I do too. All the people I used to work with and hate, can spy on you! :lol:

Then have the embarrassment of looking for work and looking desperate.

Edited by aSecureTenant

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Everything that is outsourced to the private sector in relation to the state seems to degenerate into a fraud or scam of some sort- which makes perfect sense since the measure of success is not customer satisfaction (who gives a shite what unemployed, poor or sick people think-right?)

So since the measure of success is in general a statistic of some sort- the way to succeed is to game the numbers- which exactly what happens.

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