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Job offer seems fishy? Beware of recruitment fraud
Online hiring is on the rise due to the pandemic, and consequently, so is recruitment fraud. Right now, no company is safe from the threat of scammers playing games with its reputation online. As the stats below show, the more today’s business distances itself from offline work, the more scammers are likely to make use of it.Figure 1. Fraud reports about business and job-related opportunities
In this article, we’ll try to make you more familiar with identifying and protecting yourself from these types of scams. The quick tips we’ll describe here will help spot impostors before they do any damage to you and your livelihood.
Types of recruitment fraud
Typically, an employment scam will begin with you receiving an unsolicited email from a recruiter, an HR expert, or even a C-level executive. Some of these letters will look spammy out of the gate – they might be rife with poor grammar and bogus claims, offer unrealistic salaries or contain weird requests. These will be easy to spot.
But it’s not the obvious scams that are the most dangerous. There are also sophisticated con artists out there who will take the time to duplicate the profiles of real companies’ employees, advertise legitimate job postings, and even set up fake interviews to get you to share personal information.
If you happen to run into something not too elaborate, which is typically the case, the scammers will likely ask you to provide a resume along with some personal information, such as EIN, Social Security Number, and bank account details. Or, they might say they’re ready to hire you (based on your bio alone) and try to persuade you to pay for a training program, certificates, work permits, insurance, hardware, etc.
A request for personal or financial information should be reason enough for you not to continue the conversation with the recruiter. We recommend that you always report such incidents to local law enforcement and/or the networking site through which the scammers found you.
If the scheme is more advanced, however, you might be invited to attend an interview during which you’ll be hired without having to prove any qualifications. Then, they will ask you to share personal or financial information.
No matter how complex the scam is, the ending is always the same if you give out the information: the job never materializes, your identity is stolen, and your bank account is drained.
What are the red flags to watch out for?
When seeking a job online, pay special attention to these warning signs.
Red flag #1 – too few connections
Most recruiters, especially those from large companies, will have hundreds or even thousands of connections. So, whenever some obscure account reaches out to you – be wary.
Red flag #2 – money requests
Any listing or recruiter that wants you to pay for certificates, job training, permits, insurance, or anything else to secure a job should immediately set off your alarms.
Red flag #3 – personal email
There are, of course, rare exceptions but generally, no serious recruiter or recruitment agency will ever use a personal email address to conduct business.
Red flag #4 – vague responses
Ask plenty of questions whenever talking to recruiters. If they can’t give you specifics about the “job” you’re being interviewed for, stop interacting with them.
Red flag #5 – anonymity
The identity of a genuine recruiter should never be hard to verify, so always use whatever contact information is available (their phone number, social media handles, email address) to ensure the person isn’t an impostor. The same goes for organizations; if it is hard to locate a company’s address, business email, or phone number, it might not exist at all.
Tips to stay safe
- Whenever you face a suspicious offer, check the company’s website and contact list directly. This is the quickest way to verify that you’re indeed a candidate for the job and that the person you’re speaking to is an actual employee with the authority to offer employment.
- Research the profile of every recruiter that messages you, and evaluate it for completeness and proper grammar. Spelling mistakes in profiles, as well as job descriptions, are a huge red flag.
- Do some due diligence – even a quick search with a firm’s name and the words “recruitment scam” or “fraud” may give you all the information you need.
- Avoid recruiters who are rushing you to make a decision. Most con artists want to “seal the deal” fast, so they will try to pressure you into giving them personal and financial information as soon as possible. Legitimate recruiters, however, will probably set up multiple meetings and give you one or several test tasks so that the company can evaluate your skills and knowledge carefully.
Recruitment scams have become a frequent phenomenon, but luckily it’s tough to scam a cautious person. So, always watch out for the warning signs mentioned in the article.
- Avoid job ads and emails riddled with spelling errors.
- If an email comes from a personal email address, verify the sender’s identity, and be sure to check the reputation of the firm they say they’re representing.
- Do not interact with recruiters who request money or private financial information.
- Ignore recruiters who urge you to act quickly.
These simple tips will help you stay out of trouble. If you happen to run into an online scam, consider reporting the incident to local law enforcement and/or the networking site through which the fraudsters reached out to you. On LinkedIn, for instance, you can report a scam here. If you spot some malicious actors impersonating Avenga’s employees, you can contact us directly via email@example.com
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