COLUMN: Watch out for training scams

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The scenario: ‘I’ve applied for a job at an accountancy firm, but they’ve emailed to say that I would need to take a three month training course which costs £4,000 first. I’m keen on the job, but should I pay for the training?’

Roger says: Some employers do ask you to pay for training, but will normally take the cost from your wages rather than asking you to pay in advance. Asking for up-front payments is one of the classic signs of a scam, so it’s important you do some research on the firm before parting with any cash.

Start by checking if they have a website. If there isn’t a website, they are unlikely to be legitimate. Pay close attention to their email address too - look to see if they are using a personal email account such as Gmail or Hotmail, rather than one that’s branded. Next, check how they describe their company – if they are an Ltd or Plc they should be listed on the companies house website. If you can’t find them there, they probably aren’t real.

You can also look the firm up on the internet to see what people are writing about it.

People who suspect a scam or have been scammed, will often post on forums or social media. Genuine companies will usually have client reviews outside of just their own website.

If you spot something that doesn’t sit right and you want a second opinion, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service. If you think it might be a scam report it to Action Fraud. Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts offers free, confidential and independent advice on any subject and you can call in to see us in person or contact us by telephone.

For more drop into the Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts office in the Town Hall, Bank Road in Matlock, or call 0844 3752712.