The economy along with open jobs are on the upswing. In the Spring of 2020, about 20 million jobs were lost. Right now, we’re down about 10 million jobs. Not bad, but not great. So, what’s to worry about? Fake jobs that cost you time and maybe a lot of money.
Scammers are faking open jobs and making money from unsuspecting applicants. How? Three methods seem favorites by the “bad guys”: Hacking personal information, fake services or products and a form of blackmail. Let’s look at each one:
Hacking personal information – Once you respond to a fake open job, the hackers have preliminary information like your telephone number, email address and place of business. You may get a response describing a wonderful job, but they’ll say they need more information. Be wary. Don’t give away information that is personal. It sets you up to be hacked, like Social security number, credit card and banking information. It’s better to research the inquiring company to make sure its legit.
Fake services or products: You’re told you have the ideal background and experiences to earn a substantial pay increase with a bonus. “Send a check for training materials or a license to represent the business. You’ll then receive all the information you need to be successful”. They may even say they’ll provide a qualified list of current customers for you to take over. Or, a list of high potential clients that can generate $10,000 for you. Don’t fall for the hype.
Blackmail – Two types of blackmail are identified: Ransomware, which is when a hacker takes over your computer or business. You’re then required to pay a fee to release your electronics. The second is a threat to contact your current employer acting as a potential employer seeking references for a new job. You pay them not to do that.
Warning signs of a scam are usually when a scheduled interview is not conducted in-person or by video, only by telephone; upfront fees are required for background checks; requests for credit card or banking information; or you can’t find any information about the company, the hiring manager or the job posted on any websites. According to the FBI, losses to victims are in the multi-millions of dollars, plus damage to your credit score.
So, how do you protect yourself? Here are a few tips:
- Research the company, its officers, products/services and reputation
- Never send money, but ask why it’s needed. Most companies provide equipment.
- Never provide credit card, banking or social security information. It can be used to open a new financial account, a fake driver’s license or passport.
- Ask for a video conference. Ask many questions to get answers you need.
Scammers are very slick in their approach and conversation with you. Be vigilant and smart about how much information you provide. Assess the relevance of questions your asked. If you’re not sure about the direction of the interaction, do your research.
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