- Amid the rise of the remote work era, fake job listings have increased.
- Some 14 million people encounter job scams annually, according to the Better Business Bureau.
- Here’s some advice from recruitment experts on how to protect yourself.
These kinds of scams, which often involve fictitious job postings, interviews with pseudo recruiters, and bogus onboarding processes designed to steal candidate’s sensitive information like bank-account details or a Social Security numbers, increased during the pandemic, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at Adzuna, a job search engine, told Insider. “Work from home for a salary beyond your wildest dreams? Highly unlikely.”
Every year, some 14 million people are exposed to scam job listings, according to a report from the Better Business Bureau. These listings account for more than $2 billion in direct losses annually.
As employees seek remote positions, the number of fake listings has increased, and job scams are getting more sophisticated, including using social media, online outreach, and online job boards to lure in job seekers, the BBB report found. Indeed had the highest number of fake postings, with 32% of fraudulent listings coming from the site. LinkedIn, the site with the second most job scams, accounted for 7% of the listings, according to the BBB.
Here’s how job seekers can avoid falling victim to a fake posting.
Investigate the listing, and don’t be afraid to reach out
The first step to avoiding fake job listings is knowing where to look for jobs.
“There are new job sites springing up everywhere,” Lewis said, “but fraudsters will lurk on the lesser-known ones. Use only recruitment agencies and job sites you know and trust, but be warned that even they aren’t immune.”
Job seekers are also able to report suspicious job postings to the website where it was posted. LinkedIn uses an email-verification system to authenticate postings, Ada Yu, a LinkedIn group product manager, told Insider. The platform has also rolled out new guidelines to its third-party job sites.
Still, some postings slip through the cracks.
“We encourage our members to report any postings that they believe are scams,” Yu said. “We have a help center and a safety center to provide additional tips and advice for staying safe.”
Indeed and Facebook also have precautions in place. Indeed has public “Safe Search Guidelines” with do’s and don’ts to help job seekers avoid scams and Facebook allows users to report possibly fraudulent listings.
Don’t share sensitive information
When looking at a job posting, even on a reputable website, keep an eye out for grammatical errors, missing information, and unnatural wording, Yu said. These are all signs the job listing might not be real.
If the contact information attached to the posting is a personal email address — ending in yahoo.com, gmail.com, or other personal domains, rather than a company one — that is another red flag.
“You should actually go and do a search for the employer,” she said. “See if the recruiter and the employer are both searchable and reachable.”
Also keep in mind that real employers will not ask for personal information, such as driver’s license photos, a Social Security number, or bank-account information during the early stages of the recruiting process, Yu said. Employers should also never require new hires to front the expenses for items like laptops.
“Never hand out passwords,” Lewis added. “The job site lost your log-in details? Silly them. Or not… no reputable site would ask for your password, so ignore the request.”
Additionally, job seekers should ensure none of the sensitive information Lewis and Yu mentioned is visible on their résumé.
“Identity theft is a major issue for job seekers,” Lewis said. “If you’ve posted your résumé somewhere where people can see it, never, ever include your date of birth, address, social security number or any other personal details.”
An earlier version of the story appeared on September 27, 2021.