When applying for jobs, it is important to stay vigilant and be cautious about where exactly you are sending your resume and to keep an eye out for red flags along the way. Unfortunately, there are people who are looking to benefit from your trust and vulnerability and will bait you into a scam using a fake job posting. Therefore, today, we want to talk more about this subject, and offer some tips to avoid falling victim to one.
Fake job scams come in many different varieties, though most share common characteristics that you can use to spot the scam before becoming a victim.
We have all heard the popular phrase, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” When it comes to fake job postings, scammers will typically make it sound like a dream come true. They are baiting you into believing that this is the perfect opportunity. However, one key thing to pay close attention is spelling and grammar. In most cases, the English will sound awkward, and they will often re-use a script. So, Googling unique sounding parts of the email might yield useful results.
When you are contacted by the scammer, they will offer an online interview through email, video chat or text message. Most commonly, they will use Google Hangouts or WhatsApp. Soon after the interview, you will be awarded the job and will be asked to send personal and banking information to secure the offer. While this isn’t uncommon for companies to ask for this information, it is key to know exactly who, and where, you are providing it to. It is also uncommon for a business to not meet you at least once before you are hired.
Scammers will offer high wages for the work being done, and they will “hire” the candidate by telling you that you have successfully secured the job. However, rather than going through the normal process that a reputable company or business follows, they will ask for payment in some way. If they mention anything about a check, or about receiving and sending out transactions, it is a fake check scam. If they mention anything about receiving, processing, or inspecting packages, it is a parcel mule scam. If they ask you to purchase items up-front, ask you to pay a fee in order to be hired, or ask you to purchase gift cards, it is an advance-fee scam. If the job involves posting advertisements on Craigslist or eBay, they are using you and your account to scam people. If the job involves Bitcoin ATMs, it’s a scam. Be sure to stay tuned for upcoming blog posts, where we will discuss these scams in more detail.
“In the first quarter of 2022, around 14 million people were exposed to job-related scams.”–Better Business Bureau
The Edmonton Police Service reports that in 2022, they received 148 reports of employment scams with a financial loss of $359, 831. Scammers use advanced methods to appear legitimate including fake company websites, fake banks with websites, and official looking employment documents such as banking deposit information forms, and tax forms.
Look out for these red flags:
- The job posting doesn’t exist on the company website
- You don’t meet in person
- The interview is conducted via Google Hangouts or a texting app, or no interview is required
- Emails aren’t sent by official email addresses (sent via Gmail or Hotmail)
- Ask for personal information immediately
- Ask for bank or credit card information
- You need to pay to secure the job
- Asked to purchase equipment for the job
- Required to deposit funds into your bank account and transfer it to unknown people or companies
Tips to keep you safe:
- Research the company thoroughly
- Never send your Social Insurance Number or photo of it to prove your identity
- Confirm the position with the company by checking the official website, or call directly
- Never send your banking information until you have confirmed the business exists and is operational
- Use social media (like LinkedIn) to look for other employees within the organization or business
With so much information available at our fingertips, it is easy to be caught up in the moment and fall victim to these well-orchestrated scams. However, by educating yourself, and being aware of red flags, you will be better equipped to weed out these fake job scams and focus on legitimate posting that are suited to your skills and expertise.