Published: March 24, 2023 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
Getting the job of your dreams is what many of us wish for. However, knowing the difference between a real opportunity and a scam offer can keep job seekers safe from the clutches of cyber-crooks looking to reel them in. After days and weeks of online job searches, that perfect job may now be just a click away. That’s when it’s time to pause, take a deep breath, and step away from your device.
In a PSA, the FBI referred to fake employment scams as an old trick with big improvements. The agency says, “While hiring scams have been around for many years, cyber criminals’ emerging use of spoofed websites to harvest PII and steal money shows an increased level of complexity.” They add “Criminals often lend credibility to their scheme by advertising alongside legitimate employers and job placement firms, enabling them to target victims of all skill and income levels.”
What Job Scammers Want
There’s no doubt these swindlers are after your PII, and they’ll say anything to get their hands on it. They can demand their fake employment contract needs your signature (so they have a copy of it). Still, Social Security numbers, credit card info, direct deposit bank account data (for your paychecks, of course), a copy of your passport, and driver’s license may all be required for the job. If you question the need for all this PII, the likely answer you’ll get is some version of “trust me.”
What happens after a job seeker dutifully provides everything they’re asked? The scammer disappears and your PII vanishes with them.
Keep Online Job Hunting Safe
The road to happy job hunting is littered with scam job offers. But remember, the real jobs are out there too. Always use common sense as your guide to begin ferreting-out the fake from the real.
Researching the company before applying can expose things you should know about before you leap, including finding out if it’s a scam scenario.
If an email from the “recruiter” includes links and attachments, don’t follow or open them before verifying.
Use verification measures like checking the address of the email sender, and never act on contact information in the text – it could be a hacker setup. Instead, type in the real URL yourself, find the real phone number and start calling.
Never send PII to someone you’ve never met and question why any job would need so much of it. Ask your common sense: does the job description require it?
Job searching is the perfect time to remember the adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
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