Recruitment Scams: How to Avoid Becoming A Victim

It seemed like the beginning of a new career opportunity.

Tom received an email from a professional recruitment agency, who claimed that his resume on LinkedIn suited an open position that a major organization was looking to fill urgently.

Tom agreed to a phone interview, and received another email with the job and interview details, as well as the name of the hiring agent and company. Being a thorough person, Tom checked out the company online, and confirmed all the information on their website.

The phone interview was engaging, and everything went well – the benefits sounded great, the job description was on par with his skills. Then Tom was informed of an unexpected condition.

In order to move forward with the job placement, Tom needed to sign a contract and pay an advance processing fee of US$2,000.

Sensing something amiss, Tom decided not to go forward with the job and ended the phone interview soon after.

Tom is just one among thousands of jobseekers who have faced recruitment scams such as this. But unlike Tom, many have fallen victim to these scams, paying money for fake work visas, training or supplies, and even experiencing identity theft.

As reported by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), victims of employment scam in 2018 lost an average of US$1,204, with fresh graduates being the most vulnerable parties. However, even the savviest job hunter, regardless of age and experience, can fall prey as scammers become increasingly sophisticated with new methods and tricks to take advantage of jobseekers.

How Do The Scams Work

While past employment scams were easier to spot, today’s job scams are more complex. Fraudsters go to great lengths to appear legitimate by holding fake interviews, sending fake recruiting emails or employment contracts, and even so far as to set up fake websites and offices.

Recruitment scams typically start with authentic-looking online job postings or recruitment emails. Once a job hunter replies to the job opening or email, there are several approaches the fraudsters can use. Some will ask candidates to deposit a registration, recruitment or training fee while some might conduct an online or telephonic interviews, asking for personal information as part of the job application process.

The scamming opportunists will then either disappear completely or inform the candidate that they are not qualified for the position or that the position has been filled.

There are many other variations of employment scams, which is why it’s important to keep an eye out for red flags of a fake job offer.

5 Warning Signs Of A Definite Job Scam

  1. Asking For Payment

Any ‘recruiter’ that asks you to pay any amount of money, whether for training, medical checks, office supplies, application processing or the job itself, reeks of a scammer. Real recruiters would never ask applicants and candidates for payment.

Protect yourself: Never pay the fees or charges. Any fees or expenses related to recruitment should be covered by the company.

  1. Asking For Personal Details

Be wary if a hiring agent asks for your credit card number, bank account information, or any identification details early in the application or interview process, which can lead to identity theft. Your personal particulars are usually required after you have been extended a job and accepted it.

Protect yourself: Always refrain from giving out your private information, even if they say it’s for ‘background check’.

  1. No Proper Interview

Finding the right candidate for a position is a big deal for both recruiters and hiring companies. If you are immediately hired or offered a position without a proper interview, either through face-to-face meeting or through video conferencing, it’s most likely a fake.

Protect yourself: If the company hires you without an interview or is unable to provide clear answers to your questions, it’s time to be suspicious.

  1. Too Good To Be True

In job hunting, it’s always good to remember the old adage, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t’. If the job offers a high salary that is not aligned with the market price for simple tasks and short working hours, these are definitely red flags for you to think twice about the job.

Protect yourself: Conduct research to understand the market’s typical salary range and requirements for the job, and stay realistic.

  1. Vague Job Details

Fake job postings often have typos, misspellings, and vague job descriptions without any reference of required skills, experience or education level. Additionally, keep a lookout for the recruiter’s and employer’s provided contact details, which should be more than an email address from a general mailing provider like Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail.

Protect yourself: Before applying, verify the existence and details of the recruiting agency and hiring company.

Job hunting is never easy, and job scammers are making it even harder with their empty promises of ‘rewarding careers’. But don’t be disheartened.

There are many reputable companies with legitimate job vacancies where you can build a successful career. You just need to pay attention to warning signs of an employment scam, and follow your instincts if something seems off with the job offer, just like Tom.

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