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Losses Due to Job Scams are Up: Here’s How to Protect Yourself

Last month, my colleague Crystal Orlando wrote a blog about resume scams that seems to have touched a nerve. We got lots of reaction, much of it from job candidates who tell us that they think job scams are the bigger issue right now.

They may be correct.

The amount of money lost to job scams was up 250% in the first three months of 2023, according to the Better Business Bureau. The BBB said more people are searching for remote jobs and scammers are taking advantage of them. The BBB found around $840,000 in losses during the first three months of 2023.

The Federal Trade Commission, which tracks these things says that job scams were one of the top 10 frauds reported in 2022. People told the FTC they lost $367 million to business and job opportunity scams, a nearly 76% increase from 2021. What’s more, the median loss was a whopping $2,000. Compare that to the $650 median loss for all fraud types combined in 2022.

Fake Profiles Fool Job Candidates

In a job scam, a job candidate is approached by a recruiter who appears to be legitimate, but in reality, is not. The scam uses LinkedIn and other means to fool candidates into applying for roles that don’t exist. The role sounds real and the company supposedly doing the hiring may even be real. But the scam, using fake profiles, is just that, a scam.

One tip-off: If a recruiter asks for money in exchange for a job, you need to be cautious. While this isn’t as common, there are reputable firms that provide excellent customized services to candidates for a fee. Be sure to do your research before paying any fee.

We all are seeing more instances of job scams in this challenging economy. Scammers prey on the vulnerability of workers. With money tight, due to high inflation and soaring costs, many people are vulnerable to getting caught up in flimflam operations. The scammers know how to come across as sincere and promise much-needed money quickly by impersonating well-known companies.

Think You’re Being Scammed? What to Watch For

Employment scams can be sophisticated, so it’s important to be vigilant as a job seeker. To help, Indeed has pulled together a list of signs of online interview scams. Here are a few to watch:

  • The job is too good to be true. Be wary of listed salaries or benefits that seem unrealistic for the position. Researching similar positions and comparing salaries can help you determine if the job is legitimate.
  • You can’t find the company’s information online. If the company does not have an official website or social media presence, this can signal a company's illegitimacy.
  • The interview takes place via instant chat. The anonymity associated with instant chat can increase the likelihood of you being asked personal questions unrelated to the job position, which can signal that the interview is a scam.
  • You have to pay for software. Be cautious of interviews where you're asked to pay for software for the interview itself. If you're unfamiliar with the software, it may be best to avoid downloading it.
  • Your interviewer avoids answering your questions. If the interviewer brushes off your questions or responds with non-answers, this may signal that they are withholding information about the position.

What to Do if You’re Scammed

If a job opportunity seems suspicious, Rhonda Perkins, an attorney and Chief of Staff for the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Marketing Practices, says:

First, search on the name of the company or the person who’s contacting you, plus the words “scam,” “review” or “complaint.” Remember that anyone can create a fake website or profile, so be thorough. Run the company or staffing agency through the Better Business Bureau’s directory.

You can also contact the employer directly, using information you’ve found on your own (as in, not an email or phone number provided to you through an unsolicited message), to verify the legitimacy of the job and how to apply. Our recruiting team suggests using LinkedIn, Glassdoor or other job boards to research the company, recruiter profiles and past and current employees.

Finally, never send money or reveal personal financial information, like a credit card number, during the hiring process. Many clients will require a unique identifier for a candidate that may include portions of a social security number, date of birth, etc. However, a request for full information can be a sign of fraud and illegal. Employers will only ask for your Social Security number after you’re hired, and you should still be vigilant to confirm their identity in-person or over video before you share it.

And, if you do lose money to a job scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Genesis10’s Recruiting Practices Protect You

To help protect yourself against potential scammers, please note the following recruitment practices used by Genesis10:

  • Genesis10 screens applicants through a combination of over-the-phone, video and in-person meetings. It’s common for a job candidate to connect with more than one recruiter; they will share how and where they found your contact information and specific details on the opportunity.
  • Genesis10 will never ask a candidate for payment as part of the hiring or onboarding process. Likewise, we will never send checks to applicants to secure a job.
  • Genesis10 will not request an applicant share sensitive personal information, such as a government identification number, over the phone or by email until a formal written offer letter is signed by the applicant.

Genesis10 receives verification calls weekly to our corporate phone number, marketing contacts, branch managers and company leaders to confirm opportunities and the identity of recruiters and account executives.

Always do your due diligence before applying for a job and if something seems off, trust your instincts and move on to the next opportunity.

And please do not hesitate to contact us if you think that a communication or career opportunity that you have received from Genesis10 may not be legitimate.