Scam alert: employment scams

Updated May 31, 2023
Scam Alert:  Employment Scams Are on the Rise. Here’s How to Avoid Them

Data protection company IDX recently shared information regarding Employment Scams, a form if fraud and identity theft on the rise, especially due to recent tech company layoffs and the emergence of the virtual workplace.  According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumer financial losses from employment-related scams nearly doubled over the period from 2020 to 2022, with losses totaling $367 million.
Looking for a job can be a stressful experience – and any new job offer or interview request can bring such an overwhelming sense of excitement and relief that you might eagerly go along with just about anything the potential employer asks.  Scammers know this, and they’re taking advantage. Bad actors are stepping up their efforts to target job seekers with fake employment schemes.
There are many forms employment scams can take and they are all designed to pull money or Personal Identifiable Information (PII) from their victims.

Scammers will contact job seekers by:
masquerade as employees or representatives of established organizations to capitalize on people’s trust of those organizations. 
pretend to be recruiters. 
set up a new dummy organization, complete with a fake website and fake employee profiles, as a front for their scheme. 
They use various elements of the recruitment and employment process—including applications, interviews, and employee contracts—as a means to steal funds or gather personal information.

Be particularly cautious if you are using sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter.  Scammers utilize these applications to find targets.

Be extremely cautious if a potential employer:
Posts a job listing on job boards but not on the company’s own website or does not seem to have much of an online presence outside of the job boards.
Has been the subject of fraud complaints. (Do your research to find out.)
Has a website that’s vague and/or has a lot of misspellings or other issues.
Lists a URL that does not match that of the legitimate company they claim to represent.
Does not have any recruiters or managers with profiles on LinkedIn or similar job boards, or the profiles do not seem to fit their roles.
Communicates with you only through non-company email domains, messaging apps, or teleconference applications.
Wants to conduct an interview not via an in-person meeting or secure video call, but through an instant-messaging platform or teleconference application that uses email addresses instead of phone numbers.
Asks you to purchase equipment or other goods from the company as a work requirement.
Requires you to pay upfront for background investigations or screenings.
Asks for your credit card or banking information during the interview or job-offer process.
Sends you a check with instructions to deposit it and immediately send money or goods to the company or a third party.
Sends and requires you to physically sign an employment contract seeking personal information such as your Social Security number.

Scammers are preying on job seekers, but you can fight back. Before accepting a job offer or even an interview, do your homework on the company and its recruitment tactics. If you believe you’ve fallen for an employment scam, report it to the FTC (  If you have actually been scammed out of money, you can also report this to your local law enforcement agency.

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