Scams and the Scamming: Scammers Who Pull Them Off



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Don’t Get Suckered by the Scammers

Scams and scammers alike have become as much a part of everyday life as consuming goods, services and information. In fact, it’s that consumption that typically makes us vulnerable to being suckered.

From financial rackets to pyramid schemes to catfishing, we’ve all heard the ugly stories of unsuspecting individuals harmed by unsavory characters posing as someone they’re not and promising things they won’t deliver. Think of the numerous e-mails you receive (or at least I do) that start, “Congratulations! You’ve won (fill in the blank).”

However, until I was going through some training recently, I never thought about scamming in the employment world.  Of course, everyone knows the stories of shady recruiters who persuade someone to take a crummy job, but what about someone being deceived to the extent of losing their identity?

Sadly, it is more common than I realized. The trainers in my class told the story of a woman going through the seemingly legitimate interview process, receiving a job offer and filling out the onboarding paperwork. From there, the scammers took her personal information and ultimately her identity. They went so far as to ask the candidate for her banking information so they could direct deposit a bogus sign-on bonus they had offered, then wiped out the contents of her account.

Job Seeking & Scammers

According to ID Watchdog, an identity theft protection company, there are different ways a scammer might try to steal personal information from a job seeker: pretending to be an employer and collecting information from a job website, posting false job opportunities, sending an email encouraging victims to apply for a fake job or even extending a fraudulent job offer.

5 Steps You Can Take Against Scammers

So, what can job seekers do to protect themselves against these dishonest operators? Here are some steps to take to ensure you are dealing with reputable recruiters and legitimate employers:

  1. Conduct thorough research on the hiring entity, including online research. Go one step further and contact the company to verify the job opening and the recruiter’s identity.
  2. Guard your personal information. Be very selective when providing identifying
    information such as your social security and bank account numbers.
  3. Request to meet in person with the interviewer, if possible. If your request is met with hesitancy or denied, consider that to be a red flag.
  4. Look for misspellings, incorrect grammar and typos in recruiting correspondence and check website urls for slight deviations that might indicate the outreach is fraudulent.
  5. Ask people you trust about a job offer before accepting it. Getting a second opinion could help you avoid a costly misstep.

Remember, like anything else, if the job offer is too good to be true, it probably is.

Where Can I Report These Issues?

If you suspect you are on the wrong end of a recruiting scam, report the issue to the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Just think where the world would be if scammers worked as hard at doing the right thing as they do at deceiving unsuspecting victims. But that’s a different soap box . . .

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