If It Sounds Too Good to be True, It Is
A fake job is one way a scammer can potentially earn your trust and take advantage of you. It’s not uncommon to hear about people depositing fake checks, then buying gift cards and sending them to a company to purchase a laptop. And then… the deposited check bounces. If this happened to you, guess who would be responsible for the money you deposited and sent via gift card: YOU!!!
Now, the scammers have your money and the sensitive information you provided for the job such as: your social security number, phone number, address, bank account number, etc. This could result in your private information being sold on the Dark Web by the scammers. Their motive is quite simple: to make money. They want you to deposit the check, and send them the money.
The details below will help you identify key factors and components that make up a fake job posting and survival tips if you fall victim to a fake job scam.
- Emails with fake signature blocks claiming to be from a legitimate business.
- If the conversations with the potential employer is conducted over email and text, with claims they are unable to speak in person because they “very busy” or “on travel”.
- Requests to use another email account, such as Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail, rather than the organization’s email address.
- Asks you to provide your bank name and account information before employment has been established.
- Checks mailed to you to cash for online purchases and dropship of equipment.
- They send you a check to deposit, and then send a portion to someone else.
- Emails not from the @<org> claiming to be on behalf of the <org>.
- They ask you to pay for training or a certification upfront.
- For example, they send you a check to buy a laptop, and the request the laptop be sent to them for software installation.
Before you ever accept a job offer and certainly before you send gift cards, take these steps to protect yourself and your information from scammers:
- Talk to someone you trust. Describe the offer to them. What do they think? This also provides you vital time to think about the offer.
- Don't pay for the promise of a job. Legitimate employers, including the federal government, will never ask for payment. Anyone who does should be considered a scammer.
- Never count on a “cleared” check. No legitimate, potential employer will ever send you a check, and then tell you to send a portion of the money to a company, or buy gift cards with it. That’s a fake check scam. The check will not clear the bank(bounce), and the bank will want you to repay the amount of the fake check plus a fee.
- Contact the hiring company using the published contact information on their website – either an email address or phone number – and verify that the role exists.
- Be skeptical if a job is offering a lot of money for very little work. It may be a scammer trying to obtain personal information from you.
- Perform research on the employer. Do they have a reputable website or professional references? Is the job they are contacting you about listed on their main career page? How do people online review the employer?
- Be concerned if an employer says they’re hiring you based on your resume alone. Any reputable employer normally requires an interview before hiring.
- Provide your personal information, such as your social security number, bank account number, home address, etc., to someone you don’t know and trust over email or phone.
- Deposit a check and send a portion of it away. Fake checks are common and the bank will hold you accountable if the check bounces.
- Immediately contact the bank or the service you used to send the money, and report the fraud.
- Ask to have the transaction reversed. This may be possible if you contact the bank immediately.
- If you gave them any of your usernames or passwords, change the password for any account or website where you use the compromised password. Remember, it’s always best to use unique passwords for each account or website to prevent the potential for an attacker to compromise multiple accounts with a single password. Additionally, you can use a password manager to create and store multiple unique passwords.
- The job advertisement uses terms such as: “quick money”, “free”, “unlimited earnings potential”, etc.
- The potential employer requires you to purchase start-up equipment from the company, or you must pay a fee for background screenings.
- The job interviews are not conducted in-person or through a secure video call, but rather on a teleconferencing app using an email address instead of a phone number.
- The job post is flashy, offers few details, and has low skill requirements.
- Job postings appear on job boards, but not on the company’s website.