Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.
Recent layoffs in industries like the tech sector have scammers fine-tuning their approaches to take advantage. Whether you are looking for your first job or seeking a new gig, here is some advice to help you avoid job scams.
How the scam works
Scammers will go to great lengths to obtain your personal information, some by conducting fake online job interviews or setting up phony onboarding portals where they ask you for Social Security numbers and bank account information to (supposedly) deposit paychecks. In some cases, they may also ask you to send them money for equipment needed to begin remote work – with the promise to reimburse you for these expenses on your first paycheck, but BBB advises you to not fall for these tactics.
Another common ploy scammers use is to send the job seeker a message via email, text, or social media pretending to be the hiring manager or recruiter. The “recruiter” claims to have seen your resume online and expresses interest in setting up an interview. The scammer will then ask you to download a messaging app, like Telegram, to continue with the interview process.
Once the app is downloaded, the “recruiter” will send you a message and ask you to complete some questions. They will then offer you the position and send over a “contract” for you to fill out and sign. After signing, the scammer will ask for your name, address, birth date, and banking information so they can set up direct deposit. This creates an opening for scammers to get all the personal information they need in order to steal your identity.
How to spot this scam
- Verify job openings before you apply. Reach out to the company directly using the contact information from the company’s website or an online listing – not the email or phone number you received from the person who contacted you. If you are not familiar with the company, do an online search for the company’s name with the word “scam” or “fraud.” You may find stories from others who have been targeted.
- Watch for telltale signs of a possible scam. Be leery of job offers that come from a personal email account, poor spelling and grammar, interviews that are conducted solely via email or online chat, salaries that are out of line with industry norms, and requests for account numbers or other personal information before you are hired.
- Do not pay for the promise of a job. Honest employers will never ask you to pay upfront to work for them. Legitimate hiring firms and headhunters typically do not charge prospective employees for equipment needed to do the job, even if they promise to reimburse you. Instead, expenses should be paid by the company looking to hire you. If you are asked for money to start work, walk away. You could be dealing with a scam.
- Watch out for easy hires. If a company claims they want to hire you without a virtual or in-person interview, or if they don’t conduct a job interview at all, you are probably dealing with a scammer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION – If you have been the victim of a scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.
FOR BBB INFORMATION – Visit BBB.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, find our events, follow us on social media, and more!