The goal of these fraudulent postings and recruiters is to convince applicants to divulge personal information such as your social security number, a copy of your driver’s license, banking information and/or tax ID, or in other cases to deceive you into sending money to them.
Scammers’ tactics include creating fraudulent job postings for employment websites and social media platforms, contacting potential applicants (via private message, email, text or even phone) and even creating websites that either impersonate existing companies’ or invent them entirely.
When scammers are trying to pose as a legitimate company, they will often subtly misspell that company’s name in their email addresses, URLs or social media or job site accounts.
- The job offer sounds too good to be true. The salary or benefits may seem wildly unrealistic. Or the position may strike you as one for which you lack adequate experience, yet the recruiter is urging you to apply regardless.
- It’s a mysterious company. It may be an organization you’ve never heard of, and your research yields very little if any clarity.
- The process feels too fast. Be wary of hasty hiring. If you feel uncomfortable with the speed of the process, it could indicate an eager scammer.
- The recruiter refuses to speak to you via video. Many times, these fake hiring processes take place entirely through typing, allowing the scammer to hide in anonymity. A video chat should be the bare minimum, but many legitimate positions will desire in-person interviews.
- The communications are unprofessional. Poor grammar and writing conventions are often a giveaway, as are inconclusive or inconsistent answers regarding the details of the position.
- You’re instructed to download an app. This should only occur after you’ve ensured the legitimacy of a position.
- You’re asked to receive or send money or goods. This should virtually never happen for any sort of new hire, yet it is a common tactic for scammers. In particularly, they are known to send fake checks with instructions to cash the checks and send money back. Other scams include attempts to coerce applicants to purchase goods or training materials as part of onboarding, which will either be faulty or useless or simply never arrive at all. The United States Federal Trade Commission identifies reshipping and reselling scams, as well as caregiver and assistant scams, and even government job scams.
Report any job scams to the FTC, and to any company that’s been impersonated.
If you did happen to pay a job scammer, as soon as you have recognized the scam, take actions to reverse the transaction via the company/service you used and report the fraud.
See the FTC’s advice on your options if you have been scammed.
Whereas job scams used to be noticeably spammy, scammers’ tactics have become increasingly thorough and convincing.
Again, researching a company and speaking with a recruiter are baseline methods to confirm a job or company’s legitimacy.
Another recommended method is to cross-reference the position with the company’s list of available job opportunities on their career page.
The rise of these types of scams is due to a number of concurrent factors. First, technology is more widely available and easier to use, particularly with advents in AI.
Second, with the pandemic-influenced prevalence of online communication, it’s become unfortunately easy to let one’s guard down; we’re so often communicating online, job applications are posted and submitted online and the number of online, remote jobs has drastically risen as well. In short, we’re more comfortable than ever sharing vulnerable information online.
Lastly, with layoffs affecting numerous industries, job seekers may temporarily allow excitement or anxiety to override their otherwise stringent cybersecurity habits.