According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), in the first quarter of 2022 $68 million was lost due to fake business and job opportunity scams and in the second quarter 21,600 cases were reported, many resulting in financial loss. Don’t be scammed by falling for a fake job. It’s happening a lot and in many different ways—whether it’s by someone(s) pretending to be a reputable employer posting fake job listings on sites and creating fake websites; a fake temp/staffing agency requiring a fee for services; fake setups that appear through LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” function; fake government, shopping or postal jobs; fake jobs that state you can make money by working from home like the re-shipping scam advertised as “quality control managers” or “virtual assistants” and the re-selling of merchandise; or the simple phone call, text or email offering a job.
A clear red flag is when a potential employer in some manner tries to get money up-front from you. It’s probably not a good sign if you are asked to download a messaging app in order to answer further questions for a job interview. In one kind of a fake job scam, you are asked to complete employment paperwork, scan your driver’s license, and submit bank info for direct deposit. Then asked to buy your own equipment (laptop, phone, etc.) from the company’s own site and told they will reimburse you with a check. Sometimes the check is sent first for you to deposit, hoping you buy from their portal, before you find out that the check has bounced. This is known as a “fake check scam”.
People hired for re-shipping scams do not end up getting paid. The scammers use stolen credit cards that are used to buy expensive electronics and then ship them to the hired person to re-ship to a new address, usually overseas. Re-selling scams are also prevalent, people are hired and told they can buy brand-name products for less and make a profit, but after paying the package never arrives.
Never give your social security number until after you are hired and only after you can confirm the identity of the person you are giving it to. Once you give it to a fake employer, identity theft becomes a problem. It can be used to open new accounts in your name or apply for a driver’s license or passport.
One of the best ways to avoid a job scam is to verify the job directly with the employer by finding the contact information for the company on your own. This may be the more difficult way to go about getting a job, but the chances of getting scammed are less. Cover letters and reaching out to a company may bring more success. Do not use information that was provided to you via an unsolicited message. It’s always a good idea to check the company/person’s name you have been given with the Better Business Bureau or by searching the internet using the words “scam,” “complaint” or “review” in front of the company/person’s name.
If a scam happens to you, report it to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) - https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/ The FTC will even help you to report and recover from identity theft - https://www.identitytheft.gov
• Job postings appear on job boards, not on the company’s website
• Interviews not conducted in-person or through a secure video call, but on a teleconferencing app using an email address instead of a phone number
• Potential employers/scammers contact victims through non-company email domains and teleconference applications
• Recruiters/managers don’t have profiles on the job board or the profiles do not seem to fit their roles
• Potential employers/scammers require employees to purchase start-up equipment from the company or pay for background screenings
• Potential employers/scammers request credit card information