Job Scams – FBI Warns Job Applicants of Scams Involving Fake Job Listings and Spoof Websites
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FI) issued a warning about job scams targeting job applicants. Cyber criminals target job applicants to steal personally identifiable information and money. Job scams are easier to carry out using technologies including email, web sites, and video calls.
The FBI warning states that, “Since early 2019, victims have reported numerous examples of this scam to the FBI. The average reported loss was nearly $3,000 per victim, in addition to damage to the victims’ credit scores.”
What Are Fake Job or Hiring Scams?
Job scams are attempts by cyber criminals posing as legitimate employers or employment agencies. They post fake job listings on job boards websites like monster.com or set up their own spoof websites. Scammers may conduct fake interviews using video chat apps lie WhatsApp. They convinced the job applicant that they must pay for job placement services or give sensitive personal information and credit card numbers to apply for the job.
Employment Scams on the Internet
Cyber criminals often create a fraudulent website known as a spoof website using a domain name that’s very closely names to a legitimate hiring company. The spoof website is designed to look just like hiring company’s real website. The spoof website may attempt to collect personally identifiable information like name address, birthdate, and Social Security number.
Cyber criminals may also conduct video chat interviews to make the job scam appear more legitimate. Employment scammers impersonate human resource personnel and recruiters. During or shortly after the video interview, the victim applicant is offered a job. This scammer may send the job applicant an employment contract to make things seem more legitimate. In return, the scammer may request a copy of your driver’s license, passport, and Social Security number. Scammers who are attempting to steal money will request card information to pay for expenses.
Cyber criminals may also attempt to collect money from a job applicant telling them they must pay for background checks, mandatory pre-employment training, or office supplies. Often, they are promised that they will be reimbursed by their future employer.
How Scammers Make Money
The stolen personal information is used to carry out identity theft, to open up new credit cards or lines of credit. Scammers may even file fraudulent tax returns. In identity theft, a scammer uses someone’s stolen personal information to establish an identity for themselves or to sell to others. This may include establishing fake passports, drivers licenses, and an even employment history. With fake income tax fraud, scammers use someone’s stolen name and Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return before the victim has had a chance to file that year. They scammer claims a high amount of deductions to receive a large return that is direct deposited to a fraudulent bank account established with the victim’s credentials.
Signs of a Job Scam
You need to pay a fee to get the job
Job applicants never need to pay a fee to apply for or get a job. If an employment agency is working at the behest of employer all fees are always paid by the employer who is seeking job applicants
You need to supply your credit card or bank account information
Never pay a fee for job placement agency services. Job placement agencies are a legitimate business governed by state regulations. Fraudulent job placement services may lie about services offered or give guarantees about job placement. They may promote outdated listings or blatant job scams
The employment ad is for “previously undisclosed” federal government jobs
Job scammers often advertised previously undisclosed federal government jobs all federal government jobs including those from the Postal Service, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and all other agencies earn are publicly available for free app usajobs.gov
Your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General’s Office, and the Better Business Bureau can tell you whether any complaints have been filed about a company. Just keep in mind that a lack of complaints doesn’t mean the business is on the up-and-up.
How to Protect Yourself Against Job Scams
- Research the company that you are applying for a job with. Look for complaints on Glassdoor, Monster, and the Better Business Bureau complaints
- Review their company profile on LinkedIn and connect with other employees
- Be wary of any company that asks for bank account information, credit card numbers, or your Social Security number before hiring you. Some legitimate companies may conduct a background check before making a job offer. This should be at their expense and the information given to them should be limited to the human resources department or background check agency
- Never send money to a hiring company. Scammers often ask for gift cards and prepaid debit cards to make their fraudulent activity untraceable
- Never give your personally identifiable information to anyone who doesn’t need it. Even after you’re hired only the human resources Department needs personal information about you and your family
- Only give bank account information after you’re hired by a legitimate company. Your new employer may need this to set up direct deposit to pay you, but they should never ask for this before you have accepted a job offer
How to Report a Job Scam
If you suspect a job scam is important to report it to authorities, you may need to file a police report to cover any monetary losses.
- Report any suspicious employer of job scam to the Federal Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or your local FBI office, which can be found online at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices
- Report the job scam activity to the job website in which the job posting was listed. For example, if the fraudulent job posting was on Monster.com, then report the scam job listing to their customer service
- If you’ve been the victim of a job scam report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) https://www.ftc.gov/complaint
- It’s a fraudulent activity happened with a local job placement firm contact the appropriate state licensing board or State Attorney General
Useful Computer Science and Data Science Skills
- IBM Data Science Professional Certificate by IBM
- Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Duke University
- Mathematics for Machine Learningby Imperial College London
- Cloud Computing by University of Illinois
- Data Mining by University of Illinois
- Applied Data Science with Python by University of Michigan
- Data in Database by Arizona State University
- Excel Skills for Business by Macquarie University
- Financial Management by University of Illinois
- Financial Reporting by University of Illinois
- Leading – Human Resource Management and Leadership by Macquarie University
Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers