Job Scammers Are Getting Better, But You Can Protect Yourself

“Considering the very personal information shared by job applicants, scammers have targeted job seekers for more than a decade.

Much advice is available telling job seekers to “trust your gut” when it comes to spotting job scams. Five years ago, the trust-your-gut advice was okay, and it certainly still applies to the job “opportunities” that offer very big pay for very little or very simple work.

Unfortunately, however, the scammers of the world have gotten better at making their scams seem more reasonable with improved social engineering. I have long been an advocate of “trust, after you verify.” Today, that approach is even more necessary.

The Traditional Job Scams

Job scams include fake jobs emailed to possible candidates/victims and posted on job boards, fake employer websites, and fake recruiter websites. Job scams also include “business opportunities” purportedly offering the ability for people to start and run their own businesses, usually from the comfort of home, after paying a fee or giving the “employer” their bank account information (for automatic salary deposits).

Many of these scams are still around:

  • Repackaging shipment scam. You receive a package, containing goods often purchased with stolen credit cards, which you re-ship to an address outside of the U.S.A. Guess who the original legitimate shipper/retailer sees as the thief?
  • Payment scam. The employer outside the U.S.A. needs you to accept their “customer’s” payment for them, deposit it in your bank account, deduct your “fee,” and then send them the balance via wire transfer. Then, the deposit bounces, and you are stuck paying for the amount you transferred since wire transfers are not usually refundable.
  • Identify theft data collection. An email tells you that your resume or profile was found online, and they want to hire you immediately. Simply complete the application attached to the email (possibly containing malware) or on their website, providing them with your birthdate, social security number, and bank account number so they can complete the fake hiring process. The result: identity theft and/or withdrawals from your bank account.
  • Free information, for a fee. The email offers you access to jobs that are supposedly hard to find, like U.S. Postal Service or other government jobs, and all you need to do is to pay them for access to free information. Money out of your pocket and into theirs.

Obviously, the primary goal of most job scams is to separate you from your money. But identity theft is a growing objective too.

The Newer Job Scams

Recently, scammers have improved their creativity. Increasingly, they are interested in collecting personal information that may be used for identity theft, with social security numbers and birthdates among the most important bits of personal data sought. Unfortunately, that information is easier to gather now with social networks often collecting and publishing birthdates to connections/friends.

Fake Profiles On LinkedIn

LinkedIn contains some fake profiles. (So does Facebook.) The purpose of those profiles is, probably, to gain access to the full profiles of connections containing birthdates and more connections.

We’ve all received connection invitations from people we don’t know, and, often, accepted those invitations without viewing the member’s profile so long as the headshot photo is good and the professional headline looks interesting. Big mistake.”

Article from

Post written by:

Susan P. Joyce
Online job search expert, veteran of the USMC who writes and publishes respected sites & WorkCoachCafe.

By Sherry Rice
Sherry Rice Director of Professional Development & Programming Sherry Rice