“I can’t wait to spend the next several weeks searching and interviewing for a new job”—said nobody ever. Job hunting is simply not enjoyable. The endless applications, interviews, and nail-biting as you wait for employers to call you back with good news can be exhausting.
What’s worse is applying for positions with fraudulent companies that don’t even exist. Yes, job posting scams are a real thing. Cybercriminals spoof real company names and post fake positions online in an attempt to steal your private information.
Let’s take a look at how job posting scams work and how you can avoid applying for them.
How Do Job Posting Scams Operate?
The first step in creating a job posting scam is to make applicants believe the company and position are legitimate. Before posting a job online, a scammer will create a fake website that looks nearly identical to the real company they are purporting to be.
After the website and URL look official, the scammer will list a few available positions on popular job boards across the internet that include a link directing applicants to their fake website to apply for the listing.
Once the application is complete, the unsuspecting victim will receive an email to set up a teleconference interview. The individual on the other line will impersonate personnel from a number of different departments, such as human resources, recruiting or department managers.
Upon the completion of an interview, the applicant is offered a job in a “work-from-home” scenario. They will be instructed to fill out a contract with the company which requires personal information, such as driver’s license number, Social Security number, bank account information for direct deposit, and credit card information.
Victims may even be told they are required to pay for background checks, work equipment or other upfront costs associated with the position. Of course, the scammer tells the newly “hired” employee they will be reimbursed in the first paycheck. However, once they receive payment for “upfront costs” they disappear, and all communication comes to a halt.
How to Avoid the Job Posting Scam
The FBI released a public service announcement last week providing job seekers with several warning signs that a job posting may be a scam:
- Interviews are conducted via teleconference using email addresses rather than phone numbers
- Employers contact applicants through non-company email domains
- Employers require applicants to purchase start-up equipment
- Employers request credit card information
- Hiring managers do not have profiles listed that fit their specific roles with the company
The following list is comprised of ways you can protect yourself from falling for the latest job posting scam:
- Perform an online search using only the company name. If your search yields multiple results, it’s more than likely a scam.
- Only give bank account information and other personally identifiable information (PII) in person, after you’ve been hired. Never give out PII over the phone.
- Never provide credit card information over the phone to an “employer.” There is no reason an employer would need your credit card details. It’s irrelevant to the hiring process.
- Never provide your PII online, especially your Social Security number, unless the site is secure. Make sure the web address starts with “https://” and that there is a small lock icon before the address.