Looking for a job? Chances are you’ve been surfing the internet on a bunch of various job sites hoping to find the perfect one. Found a few ads that seem too good to be true? Well, as the old saying goes – if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck… and not your dream job.
Job scams: what are they exactly, and how can you fall victim to one? What are the dangers, and how can you avoid them? In this article, we’ll cover all of the above and more, to make sure it’ll be a job you’re finding, and not your money or your identity, you’re parting from.
Job scams have been around for eons, but the tactics scammers are using can vary. Some will try to gain access to your personal information, others might request payments from you or hire you for an illegal task, such as reshipping luxury goods that were bought using stolen credit cards.
…And the list goes on.
“We are definitely seeing job scams on the rise,” said Rhonda Perkins, Attorney and Chief of Staff of the Federal Trade Commission’s division of marketing practices.
In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received more than twice the number of job scam reports than in 2020. And, in the first quarter of this year, there’s been more than 16,000 complaints filed.
So, what monetary losses are we talking about? To date, they amount to about $59 million, annually. No small amount.
And what are scammers looking for exactly? Well, it usually boils down to one of two things – your money or your personal information.
Below is a list of the most common types of job scams to help you identify them.
Making money from the comfort of your own home has always been something that’s had instant appeal to jobseekers, worldwide. No need to leave the couch. Work in your pajamas. Do a little moonlighting to help pay the grocery bill. What could be more enticing?
Job scammers know this.
That’s why one of the most common job scams is placing ads (often online, but they’ll also contact you by phone, or text) promising great pay in exchange for a few hours of work from home.
These kinds of scams are as old as the hills. And they are on the rise. In fact, statistics show that job scams increased during the COVID-19 crisis, as many Americans were left unemployed and needed to work from home to just put food on the table.
These types of scams seek to syphon your money in various ways, such as – by making you pay enrollment fees, for training and even for useless certifications, among others.
Examples of fake work-from-home job offers include:
And oh, so many more…
Another common fake job offer is one you get by email. You open your inbox to find a mail from a “recruiter/employer” who claims they found your resume on a job board, or that you applied for the position (and you’re the perfect candidate!). You probably don’t remember applying (because er, you didn’t) and yet, the offer looks so good you think, why not?
In this kind of scam, the scammer will ask you to provide personal information. This could be your driver’s license (includes your birthday), your social security number, or even your bank account info in order to receive your paycheck.
Basically, you’ve just given a total stranger all your personal identification information in a single swoop. With this data, they can then steal your money and/or your identity.
Social media. It’s now the norm in our society. Over 53 percent of people use it daily. As such, it has become rife with scammers looking to cash in on an opportunity to remove you from your money and/or your identity.
Commonly, job scammers create Facebook pages or LinkedIn profiles to advertise fake job opportunities, but real accounts can also advertise fake postings, so beware of that!
The first thing you should do when you see a job opportunity posted on social media is to verify that the recruiter/employer’s social media account is legit. You can do this by checking the number of followers on the site. If there are only a few, it’s probably not real. Alternatively, if you google the employers name and more than one profile pops up, that’s a major red flag.
Desperate times lead to desperate measures. Sometimes, scammers will even go as far as to undertake the task of creating fake employment or recruitment websites.
This type of job scam can be one of the very hardest to spot. However, in reality, the job or recruiting agency is totally fictitious and doesn’t exist outside of the website its posted on. A job scam like this will ask for sensitive information such as your social security number, or your bank details under the pretense of a pre-screening, or to start depositing your paychecks immediately.
And, if fake jobs on fake sites wasn’t bad enough, even verified and popular job search sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, or Craigslist are not entirely immune to fake job ads.
These kinds of sites collect their listings from company websites, recruiting agencies, newspapers, or other means. However, even though the actual job boards might be legit, it’s not always possible to ensure that the employers and job offers are too.
So, how can you ensure you don’t fall prey to these kinds of scams? Its not easy. But with a little vigilance, you can try to protect yourself as best you can. Below is a list of the top 6 warning signs of a job scam to help you do just that:
If you notice any of the following when you receive an offer or see a tempting listing, keep your wits about you, your money in your pocket and your identification information under lock and key:
If you are looking for a job, keep all your info to yourself. Don’t give a thing away until you are 100 percent sure that the job is legit. And even then, use discretion. A real employer will understand this concern. You can also always ask to first call the company’s HR department to verify that the job is real. These small steps could be the difference between potential work and becoming the unsuspecting victim of fraud.
It’s safe to say that cyberattacks are no longer just a threat to enterprises. You, me and literally, the cat’s mother are now sitting targets. It is our collective duty, as consumers, to help win the war against consumer cybercrimes by staying up to date on what’s happening and making it our business to gain the tools to prevent those scams, before they take off globally, and millions are lost.
That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves as experts in the cyber security field to keep you, our readers, aware of every scam, as it happens, so that together – we can help slay the cyber scammers and save a whole lot of green, in the process.
If you want to know more about other trending consumer scams, check out our and stay tuned and watch this space for more vital info on the latest developing cyber scams!