Finding a job can be an overwhelming process. Many times, there are hundreds of qualified applicants looking to fill the one opening that you're interested in. That's why it's a good idea to brush up on your skills.
The last thing you need when looking for work is to come across a cybercriminal trying to fool you with a job scam. Unfortunately, these types of scams are becoming more and more prevalent.
Watch out for wide-spread job scams
Job scams are nothing new, fraudsters have been running them forever. However, they're becoming more widespread in the digital age.
Fraudsters are posting malicious ads, fake job boards, and bogus job openings all over the internet. These can lead to a number of problems. Identity fraud, stolen bank account details, and infecting your gadget with malware or ransomware, to name a few.
A recent example happened to Khawar Latif. He received an invitation through Skype, asking him to discuss a job opening with someone supposedly representing the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
There was also a file attached to the message that Latif was supposed to download. This made him suspicious. He decided to contact FINRA and ask about the job opening and the alleged representative. His suspicions were confirmed, there was no job opening and the rep was a fraud.
Most likely, if Latif would have downloaded the file, his gadget would have been infected with malware or ransomware. These scams are popping-up online constantly. You really need to be careful and know how to identify a job scam.
How to avoid falling victim to a job scam
Job scams have been around for years and aren't going anywhere. Not only do you need to know how to spot one, but also how to respond. Here are suggestions from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
- Payment required to get the job - Scammers will ask you to pay a fee for certification, training materials, or their expenses placing you with a company. After you pay, the job doesn't exist. Legitimate employers and employment firms should not ask you to pay for the promise of a job.
- You're asked for banking information - Do not give your credit or debit card or bank account information over the phone to a company unless you're familiar with them and have agreed to pay for something.
- Ads for "undisclosed" federal government jobs - All federal job openings are announced to the public at usajobs.gov. This information is free, if you see an ad asking to pay for it, it's a scam.
- Investigate hiring company - There are many legitimate job placement services. Fraudulent ones will lie about what they can do for you, promote fake job openings, or charge up-front fees. If a company is mentioned in an ad or interview, contact that company to find out if it really is hiring through a service.
- Check for complaints - Your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General's Office, and the Better Business Bureau can tell you whether any complaints have been filed about a company. You might even be able to find out about a job scam by doing a simple internet search.
- File a complaint - If you have been targeted by a job scam, you should file a complaint with the FTC.