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Job Scams Are Growing! Don’t Lose Money While Trying to Make Money!

Meme: Not Sure If This Is a Scam or the Best Job Ever

Careers, jobs and employment options have changed drastically in just the past five years. Job scams—supposed employment opportunities that are actually schemes set up by criminals—have grown right along with them.

And now, everyone who is desperate for a job, looking to change careers, or hoping to find a money-making opportunity, needs to be very careful when their sizing up a new opportunity.

Not only are fake job listings on the rise, according to experts, but they’re also getting extremely hard to detect. There was a time when there were certain giveaways—bad spelling, poorly designed websites and ads—but not anymore.

The number of job and employment agency-related scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission nearly tripled between 2020 and 2021. Job scams are now one of the hottest trends.

Blame the rise of job scams on the pandemic.

Of course, the pandemic caused a huge disruption to the work world and employment situation, especially when it came to remote work. As workers realized they could do their jobs from home, job switching and even taking on extra work with other companies, became a real possibility.

As hiring resumed, many of the available positions were remote opportunities. Even as the pandemic rules eased up, employers were finding that hiring remote workers had advantages over having workers on site, especially for positions that didn’t require it, such as sales or account management.

Using a variety of schemes and tricks, several unemployment check scams have also been on the rise. In fact, they may have already applied for unemployment in your name, using your personal information.

It didn’t take long for criminals to realize that there might be plenty of people—not necessarily all desperate for a job—who might be easy prey for a fake job scam.

Absolutely Doable and It's Free.

Job-scam: real-life account.

Recently in the Los Angeles Times told an account of a woman who almost got caught in the web of a job scam, and she was a not desperate for work or someone who was usually easily fooled. She accepted a remote position she’d applied for on LinkedIn and had been hired for, all in less than 48 hours. It all went smoothly, and she hadn’t even spoken to a person via phone or a Zoom call.

“On behalf of our firm, I congratulate you on our achievement.”

She was surprised, but also happy to have landed a new job so easily. The good fortune overshadowed any suspicions initially.

That changed pretty quickly.

When she opened the official offer letter, it had the name of a different job candidate. That told her that something wasn’t right. She started a closer inspection. Fortunately, the scammer’s welcome letter with the wrong name made the new-hire stop the job-acceptance process in its tracks. She saved herself a lot of grief and probably a good amount of money.

Upon further investigation.

Turns out, the whole process had been a fraud, orchestrated by a scammer. The company was legitimate, and the name of the recruiter too, but a scammer was impersonating a hiring manager for the firm. The criminal had hacked into the company’s LinkedIn business page.

Job Scams can pop up on LinkedIn and other platforms. 

Unlike online shopping, which many people do often and routinely, job hunting for most people happens infrequently, and for many it can be a first-time activity or something they haven’t done in a long time.

That means millions of people are unaware of the dangers that exist in online job scams and are easy prey for criminals.

LinkedIn itself warns job seekers that scammers are getting more sophisticated. They also encourage anyone using their platform to watch for potential signs of fraud “at every stage” of the job search.

The same goes for the job-seeing platform Indeed, which reportedly removes, in their words, “tens of millions of job listings each month that do not meet our quality guidelines.” They take on that massive task with the help of a huge in-house team and sophisticated software that review, analyze and assess the validity of job listings.

Job scams as a “phishing exhibition.”

As our informative infographic shows, there are some clear do’s and don’ts when it comes scrutinizing and responding to job listings.

Pay attention to the warning signs, especially during the application process. You should never start revealing what’s known as PII, or Personal Identifiable Information early in the process.

A legitimate employer would know better to ask you for that personal information. In fact, many employers don’t need much of that information about their employees, such as their driver’s license number or medical ID.

A criminal running a job scam will tell applicants that the personal identifiable information is required to complete the basic application. That’s a clear sign that something is wrong.

Here’s what is considered PII:

  • Social Security number
  • Passport number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Taxpayer identification number
  • Patient identification number
  • Checking or savings account numbers
  • Credit card numbers

Land a job while avoiding the job scam.

Cybercriminals don’t play by the rules, and they certainly don’t advertise that they’re running a con on unsuspecting job seekers. Platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn do what they can to prevent unscrupulous ads from running, but they can’t put an end to job scam attempts.

So, it’s up to you to make sure you’re not so eager to land a new job that you let your guard down.

You want to land the job instead of landing in trouble.

For more information on avoiding scams, visit the Easy Prey website and follow the Easy Prey podcast.

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