Employment Scams

February 16, 2024

If you’re on the hunt for a job, you know how competitive it is out there. Landing a good position can feel out of reach, with so many candidates vying for an opportunity. 

As a result, the pressure is on to fire off as many applications as possible. However, it’s important to resist the urge to respond to every posting. Fake job scams are becoming increasingly common, and it’s easier than you think to fall victim to them. 

The best course of action is to be critical, do your homework, and understand how to protect yourself from an employment scam. Read on to learn what an employment scam is and what you can do to stay safe. 

What are employment scams?

Employment scams are set up to lure in unsuspecting individuals with opportunities, promising valuable work experience. They slip through checks by posting fake jobs on popular platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed. 

Scammers might also reach out through email or phone, pretending to offer real employment. They’ll often pose as representatives of well-known companies to seem more credible.

Scammers go to great lengths to create legally registered businesses with professional websites and even establish a presence on review sites. They make fake accounts to flood these platforms with positive reviews, creating a facade of satisfied employees and customers. 

Overall, employment scams come in different forms and can be quite sophisticated, so do your best to stay on your toes. 

Red flags to look out for 

While searching for opportunities, it’s important to watch for signs that job postings might be a scam. 

What you can do to protect yourself

If you’ve been hit by an employment scam or suspect one, follow these steps to regain control and safeguard your personal information. 

1. Alert Authorities

If you fall victim to an employment scam, contact your local or national police for assistance. It’s also important to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or on their website

If your social security number is compromised, report it on IdentiftyTheft.gov. Additionally, consider reaching out to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, your state's attorney general, and the Better Business Bureau to cover all the bases. If you’re a student, reach out to your college's Career Development/Services office about any scam-related emails.

2. Platform-Specific Reporting

To report scams on platforms like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Indeed, use their dedicated reporting tools. If it's on Google, you can report phishing through the Gmail interface. You can also report scam Google accounts, including Gmail or Hangouts, via Gmails Help Center. To learn more about how to avoid and report scams on Google, refer to this helpful resource

If you spot suspicious users on LinkedIn or are contacted by one, take the time to report them. 

On Facebook, use the platform's reporting tool for abusive content or scams. If you suspect your account has been hacked, follow these steps. If you’re contacted by a scammer on Indeed, report any suspicious activity. 

3. Strengthen Online Security

If you suspect your accounts have been hacked, change your passwords right away. To prevent that from happening, you can boost your online security by first creating strong passwords for your most sensitive accounts and using a password manager to keep them secure. Then, add an extra layer of protection through two-factor authentication. 

4. Recover Funds if Possible/Protect Your Credit

If you spot charges you didn't make on your credit/debit card, contact the card issuer to reverse them right away. To prevent unauthorized access to your credit, freeze it as soon as possible by contacting Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian

For any suspicious bank transfers, report the issue directly to your bank. Follow the steps provided for wire transfers, money transfer apps, and cryptocurrency payments to resolve any issues. If cash was sent via mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service

5. Regular Checks

Monitor your credit report through annualcreditreport.com, and keep an eye on existing accounts for unusual activity. Don't forget to activate notifications for your bank and credit cards. This way, you'll get immediate alerts if there are any suspicious transactions.

Wrapping up

You deserve to feel safe as you search for a job. So, keep these measures in mind while you’re exploring job boards to prioritize your safety and peace of mind. 

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