How to avoid getting tricked by the ‘You’re hired’ scams

Even on trusted job search sites that use fraud detection technology, employment scams have skyrocketed. If you’re job hunting, your best offence is a strong defensive strategy. — Dreamstime/TNS

The number of job scams reported to the US Federal Trade Commission has ballooned in recent years – from 7,324 in the third quarter of 2020 to 21,848 a year later.

While job sites, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, say they use a combination of sophisticated technology and human reviewers to weed out millions of fake listings, many scammers’ techniques continue to elude detection. Here are some tips to make sure the position and company to which you’re applying are real.

Go beyond the job search site

– Verify job openings through the organisation or company’s official website. Most companies will have a “Jobs” or “Careers” page.

– Look up the name of the company with words like “scam”, “review” or “complaint” to see if others have been scammed by them in the past.

– Look up the company on Better Business Bureau, a nonprofit organisation that vets businesses.

– Call the company and ask to speak to someone about the details of the position.

Red flags to watch out for during the application process

– You’re asked to pay for the job opportunity in some way. For instance, you receive a request to pay for a company-specific certification, or you’re asked to “reformat” your resume on a website that then requests payment for the service.

– Your contact wants your Social Security number or banking information before you even interview.

– The hiring manager wants to conduct the hiring process without an interview or phone call, relying strictly on email or message-based communication.

– You’re instructed to deposit a cheque and use it to buy equipment or gift cards (and give them the PIN numbers), wire the money to other people, or send the “extra” funds back to them. Chances are, the cheque is fake, and you’ll be spending your own money.

What to do if you’ve been scammed

– Lodge a police report.

– Report the posting to the job search website you found it on.

– If you paid with your credit or debit card, contact your bank and tell them it was a fraudulent charge.

– If you made a wire transfer through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram, contact them ask to reverse the wire transfer.

– If you purchased a gift card, contact the company that issued the gift card and tell them it was used in a scam. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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