How to Protect Yourself From Job Scams
how to protect yourself from job scams
As many of us know, Covid-19 has changed the whole world. It has changed the way many of us interact with one another. It has made us think twice about how we prepare ourselves for the future, and it has even changed the culture of our careers and companies. Since Covid-19, we have seen a rise in remote job opportunities. While this has been great for many families and individuals, we are, unfortunately, seeing a rise in job scams.
According to the Better Business Bureau, in 2018 and 2019, employment scams were the number one riskiest scam. In 2020, things only got worse as many companies moved online. The FBI reported that more than 16,000 people reported being victims of employment scams, with a total of $59 million in losses. This, of course, does not include emotional damage.
The internet is an easy tool for scammers to use to prey on potential victims. They use reputable job listing sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster. In fact, it has been reported that 32% of reported scams were on Indeed. LinkedIn comes in at 7%. Facebook, Career Builder, Zip Recruiter, and Craigslist at 6%, 5%, and 3%, respectively.
To make matters worse, some scammers have become extremely clever. Not only do they have phone interviews, but they will go as far as having a video interview via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. This makes the job opportunity extremely believable because most scammers do not reveal their identities.
The stress of finding employment for many Americans at a time like this can be excruciating. Many are still recovering from the effects of Covid-19, while we are all impacted by inflation. So what should you look for when seeking employment? Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from being scammed.
Before applying for a job, we encourage you to do your due diligence. If you are using a job board such as LinkedIn, Indeed, etc., check out the company’s website. But do not just stop there. Some scammers post opportunities on job listing sites under a reputable company’s name. They may even link the company’s website to their post. In this case, you should always check the company’s job listings page. Check to make sure the company has the same exact job opening on its site. You can also reach out to their HR department. If the position cannot be found on the website, it is most likely a scam.
Look For Reviews
Before applying, you should also check sites such as Better Business Bureau and Glassdoor for company reviews. Most companies also have a social presence. You can check LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. to verify if they are a legit company.
Verify Company Website
Be sure to verify that the company’s website is real. Some scammers create legitimate-looking websites. Make sure there is a padlock symbol next to the company’s website URL. The padlock symbol indicates that the site is secured.
Speaking of the URL, make sure it is secured by verifying it says “https:www.” and not “htts:www.”
What to Do If a Company Reaches Out to You
If a company reaches out to you inquiring about interviewing you, be sure to verify that you have applied for a position with them. Some scammers will e-mail or inbox potential victims, telling them that they have received their resume and would like to schedule an interview. In some cases, a resume or job application was never sent, so be certain that you applied for an opportunity with the company that is reaching out to you.
Another thing you should be aware of is the company’s email address. Most legit companies have email addresses with their company’s name after the “@” symbol. For example, our company’s name is Guide to HR, so we may have an email address such as email@example.com. If a company reaches out to you with a free email address such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc., it is most likely a scam.
Also, be aware that some scammers may slightly modify a company’s name in their email address. For example, a scammer may pose as someone from Coca-Cola, but their email address may be firstname.lastname@example.org. At a quick glance, the email looks legit, but Coca-Cola is spelled wrong, so always verify the spelling of a company’s name in their email address.
Pay Attention to Grammatical Errors
Reputable companies typically check for grammatical errors when sending emails, direct messages, and text messages. If you receive a message with grammatical errors, it is most likely a scam.
Never Release Personal Information
If you are asked to submit any personal information such as your bank account information, social security number, or any other sensitive information early on, we encourage you to terminate any communications. Legitimate employers typically ask for sensitive data during the onboarding process, not the interviewing process.
More to Be Aware Of
There are more things you should be aware of when seeking employment such as:
- Conducting an interview through a chat or text messaging service
- “Too good to be true” benefits and compensation
- Being asked to cash a check into your personal account and pay for training, equipment, and/or background checks
- “Employers” that hire you quickly without learning much about you and your skills
- Being asked to download unverified computer software
If you have fallen victim to any scam, it is important to report the scammer as soon as possible. And if you paid a scammer, call your financial institution and report the scam immediately and ask for a reversal payment if you can.
As always, be vigilant and stay up-to-date with any new scams. Be sure to come back next week as we share common job scams, and if you have not already, please subscribe!