Finding employment in the current economic situation can be challenging, but thankfully, it is improving steadily. The latest unemployment data shows that it fell by 0.2% in February, with over 670,000 positions filled.
The lowest unemployment rate ever in the U.S. was when it bottomed out at 2.7% in 1952. That means there are still millions of Americans looking for a job now, using all the available tools.
But not everybody is honest when offering someone the chance to be fully employed. Read on to see how scammers are tricking people looking for work in a strained economy.
Here’s the backstory
Scammers use all kinds of tricks to rob victims of personal information and money. But while criminals usually indiscriminately pick their targets, it takes a special type of scammer to go after the unemployed or first-time job seekers specifically.
Research by Proofpoint highlights just how rampant job fraud has become. For example, many vacancy postings appear authentic by incorporating official company logos and branding, proper spelling and grammar and legitimate positions.
Of all the fraudulent jobs analyzed, Proofpoint notes that 95% of them mainly target colleges and universities.
Criminals can even go so far as to spoof the email addresses of university career centers or hiring agencies. Typically, victims are targeted through emails explaining the position, benefits and pay. Then, to proceed with the job application, victims must click on a Google Forms link.
You’re expected to fill in the form with personal details such as full name, email address, phone number and gender. It might not seem like a lot of information, but skilled criminals can use snippets of your data to steal more information.
What you can do about it
You might be chomping at the bit for a job, but you shouldn’t jump at the first opportunity, especially if it arrives as an unsolicited offer. Here are some tips on how to stay safe when looking for a job online:
- If you receive a job offer that you weren’t expecting, check the sender’s email address for legitimacy. It is probably a scam if it comes from a free email service like Gmail or Yahoo.
- Be careful when the job description is vague, or you must supply more information than what is typically required for an interview.
- When the job poster offers to send you a check upfront before starting, run away.
- Another thing to watch for is if someone offers you a job but requests payment from you first for supplies or just some fee. You should never need to send money to a company when accepting a job offer.
The best way to look for a job is to use a reputable service like our sponsor, LinkedIn.
Want to find your next great employee? Visit LinkedIn.com/Kim and post a job for free. What do you have to lose?