Beware of Job Posting Scammers

By Joe Stein

 

As the economy continues to struggle, job posting scammers have found additional success preying on unsuspecting individuals seeking employment. These criminals know that individuals are more desperate than ever to land their next position. This desperation may cause them to lose judgment and make decisions that will leave them vulnerable to “fake” job postings.
 
These “fake” job postings can be found on any website that accepts employment advertising, but appear to surface most frequently on “free” posting boards that contain a variety of advertising. These “free” posting sites are of no cost to both “employers” and Job Seekers.
 
WNYJOBS.com, while not fool-proof, is a local company where personal contact is made by a Customer Representative to an employer. This level of service and dedication serves as a gate to filter out possible fraudulent activity. You, therefore, benefit as a Job Seeker from this personal local touch.
 
Below are a few ways you can increase your safety when responding to job postings:
 
·        Don’t Send It - Don’t send any specific personal information in direct response to an advertisement. This rule of thumb includes a recruiter/headhunter seeking information to gauge your credit score, or overall employability. Do not click on any embedded websites that are included in the advertisement such as one where you can obtain your credit score. Typically, a “fake” advertisement will not contain an employer name, or will not possess one that is verifiable. The job posting writer will most likely write in a style indicating that this is a routine request and not out of the ordinary...don’t be fooled!
 
  • Don’t Be Pressured - Do not provide any additional identifying information when contacted, until you can verify the prospective employer. A trick for fraudulent activity is to claim, on the phone, that additional information, such as Social Security Number, Mother’s Maiden Name, or Bank Account Information, is needed for a pre-screening Background Check. Either end the conversation immediately, or simply inform the person that you are not comfortable providing this information over the phone. This will allow you to verify the person/employer prior to providing any information.  
     
  • Do Your Homework – There are occasionally posts that are referred to as “blind ads”. These ads do not contain the name of the employer, but are generally legitimate advertisements because they do not ask for personal information. “Blind Ads” are sometimes run by employers that do not want the fact that they are seeking someone for a position to become public knowledge. Respond to “blind ads” at your risk, even if they do not make an upfront request for personal information. All other advertisements that you should respond to will contain the name of the employer. You should also take the time to do a search of the company named, to verify its legitimacy. Make sure the company exists and has a good public reputation. The company should have an address that is verifiable. Be suspicious of any e-mail address that is not a primary domain (ex. someone using a Yahoo e-mail account). Take extra precaution with any “work from home” or other similar business opportunity, as this has traditionally been an area where bogus postings occur.
     
  • Limit Your Resume Information – There are several ways you can safeguard your public resume; among them are the following:
- Create a job search-only e-mail. This will separate any personal e-mail activity from your job search.
- Be sensitive towards dates, especially with education. Consider placing only the University and Degree earned and not the year. It can be simple for a professional thief to back into your details from your education information provided.
- Consider providing a mobile phone number and not your home land-line number since the cellular is less traceable. Using your mobile phone provides some other benefits, as it allows you to be more accessible to a Recruiter.
- You may want to only use your first initial and last name with any public resume. This will make it more difficult to back into your information by doing a name search.
 
·        Don’t Pay or Accept Payment – You may even read a job posting that requests an immediate payment in order to move forward in the process. Legitimate employers do not require you to pay to apply. Even recruiters who work for a fee will consult with you in an in-person meeting and provide references for you to verify. Sometimes, although less frequently, the “employer” will request bank or Pay Pal information using an excuse, such as the need to immediately set you up for direct deposit. A small amount of money will be delivered to your account to verify it’s authentic, which will be the start of using your account for their personal use.
 
If you do fall victim of a job posting scam, then please act quickly. Necessary steps include closing the bank account that was breeched and begin reviewing your credit report using a reputable source every few months. You should also consider reporting this scam to the authorities, so they can record the criminal activity and attempt to apprehend the thieves. 
 
The bottom-line is a simple piece of advice: if it sounds too good to be true or feels suspicious it probably is and should be avoided.  
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.