Employment scams have been around a long time. And sadly, with the advent of the internet, scams have proliferated and are now much easier to pull off.
With the goal of luring in unsuspecting jobseekers to trick them out of their personal information and money, cyber-fraudsters set up legitimate-looking company websites, and then post fake job openings on popular online job boards.
To the jobseeker, everything appears legitimate — from the job posting, to the company website, and even the fake job interviews with personnel from various departments within the “company”. After the promise of a job, the scammers request money to conduct a background check or to purchase a starter “training” kit. They might also send you an employment contract asking for personal information.
In some cases, it may be difficult to tell the difference between a hiring scam and a legitimate employment opportunity. Here are tell-tale signs you are dealing with a scammer:
- An online search for the company returns multiple websites with slight variations of the company name.
- You can also do an online search of the company adding “complaints” to the query.
- Interviews are conducted on the phone or through unsecured video calls.
- You are contacted through non-company email domains.
- You are asked to pay up front for a background screening.
- You are asked to pay for a uniform or start-up equipment.
- You are asked to provide your credit card information.
- You are asked for personal information and bank account information by phone, before you’re hired.
- You can’t find profiles of the people you speak with on their company website.
If you suspect you are the victim of a hiring scam, report the activity to the online job board and the Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI.