A recent public service announcement from the FBI warns job seekers of risks they may face when seeking jobs online. When you are in search of honest work, you should not be paying for hiring fees, certifications or training materials. The fake job market has been continuously evolving, and cybercriminals today know just how important it is to find that ‘perfect’ job.
Fraudsters now pose as legitimate companies and use trusted online job application websites to conduct their schemes. But how does it work? Criminals use website spoofing to mimic legitimate company websites by using their design, official logos and similar URLs to get personal identifiable information (PII) or payments from unsuspecting targets. In the initial phase, the scammers post job openings, usually remote work, on popular job search engines. If you apply for one of these ‘positions’, you are directed to the fake website.
So you have applied to your too-good-to-be-true dream job. What now? The interview phase is conducted via a teleconference application where you are greeted by the actual perps, who pretend to be recruiters and department managers.
Here comes the nasty part. After you get the job, the cybercriminals send you an email with the employment contract, along with a couple of requests. “In order to appear legitimate, the criminals send victims an employment contract to physically sign, and also request a copy of the victims’ driver’s licenses, Social Security numbers, direct deposit information, and credit card information,” reads the FBI’s announcement.
The announcement also warns that, “Criminals may also tell victims they need to pay upfront for background checks or screenings, job training, start-up equipment, or supplies. In many cases, victims are told they will be reimbursed in their first paycheck. Once they get money, criminals stop communicating with their victims.”
Hiring scams report a loss of nearly $3,000 per victim and even credit score damage. Although it may be difficult to identify these scams, some indicators may help:
- Non-company email domains and teleconference applications
- The interviews are not conducted via secured video calls or in person
- Applicants need to purchase start-up equipment from the company
- Credit card information is requested
- Job listings do not appear on the official company website