Job Scams

Job Scams

Job seekers are at risk of falling victim to job scams that aim to steal personal information and money from them, just when they need financial security the most. These scammers take advantage of any opportunity to trick their victims, and with the surge in employment figures, they have turned to job scams.

Job scammers often create a phony profile, much like online dating and romance scammers, and pose as a recruiter to lure their victims with a fake job offer. They once relied on spammy emails and texts to share these bogus job offers, but they have become more sophisticated and now use phony profiles on social media platforms to target their victims.

To combat these attacks, social media platforms have implemented mechanisms to identify and delete phony profiles that scammers use for their attacks. For example, LinkedIn removed over 21 million fake accounts in the first half of 2022, and Facebook took action on 1.5 billion fake accounts in Q3 of 2022 alone, with more than 99% of them acted on before users reported them.

Despite these efforts, some scammers still manage to make their way through, so job seekers must remain vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves.

Job scams are becoming increasingly prevalent, and it's important to know what to look out for. As noted by Steve Grobman, our senior vice president and chief technology officer, in a CNET article, the rise of remote work and remote hiring has made it easier for job scams to thrive. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported $209 million in job scam losses in 2021, and as of the first three quarters of 2022, reported losses had already reached $250 million, potentially resulting in a 50% increase in job scam losses for 2022 compared to the previous year. The median loss per victim is around $2,000.

Job scams are unique because they offer the promise of work or a job offer, but the scammers behind them are after the same things as other scammers - your money and personal information, which they can use to cause even more harm. If a so-called job offer asks for your Social Security or tax ID number, it's likely a scam. Scammers can use this information to access bank accounts, lines of credit, and commit crimes in your name. Only provide this information through a secure document signing service after accepting a legitimate job offer with a legitimate company.

Another trick scammers use is asking for your banking information to wire payment to you. Guard this information closely and only provide it if you have accepted a legitimate job offer with a legitimate company. Legitimate companies won't ask you to pay for training, onboarding, or equipment before you can start work.

Additional signs of a job scam to be aware of:

Job scams can be difficult to spot, but paying attention to certain details can help you avoid falling for them. Here are some other red flags to keep in mind:

The offer sounds too good to be true.

If a job offer promises high pay, low hours, and lots of perks like a laptop or other benefits, it's important to be cautious. Scammers use these kinds of promises to lure in unsuspecting victims. If the details of the job seem vague or incomplete, or the recruiter is hesitant to provide additional information, that's another red flag.

All communication is done through email or chat.

Job scammers often avoid face-to-face communication because it makes it easier for them to hide their true identity. If a recruiter is unwilling to video chat or speak over the phone, it's a potential warning sign.

The communication seems off or robotic.

Scammers may use AI chatbots or other automated tools to communicate with potential victims. While these tools have improved, they still lack the human touch that is often present in genuine communication. If the communication seems disjointed or robotic, it could be a sign that the job offer is a scam.

The recruitment process moves too quickly.

Recruiters for legitimate jobs typically take their time to vet candidates and conduct thorough interviews. If a job offer seems to be moving too quickly, with the recruiter asking for personal information early on in the process, it's likely a scam.

The job offer comes from an unexpected source.

Legitimate job offers are usually posted on job search sites or other professional networking platforms. If a job offer comes through social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it's worth being skeptical. Scammers use these sites to gather personal information that they can use to target their victims.

By being aware of these red flags and paying close attention to the details of any job offer, you can reduce your risk of falling for a job scam.

As a job seeker, it's important to take steps to protect yourself from job scams. While researching potential job opportunities, it's common to look up the company's history, read reviews, and gather as much information as possible. However, when you receive a job offer out of the blue, it's essential to be even more cautious.

In the United States, there are several resources you can use to determine the legitimacy of a company. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides a searchable listing of businesses along with ratings and a list of complaints. You can also visit your state's Secretary of State website to find information about the business, including when it was founded and whether it's still active.

For businesses with international locations, S&P Global Ratings and the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation offer background information that may require creating an account. It's also important to protect yourself and your devices from online threats. This is especially true when it comes to job scams, which can use links to malicious sites and data broker sites to gather your personal information.