Scams Attacking Job Seekers Become More Sophisticated and Subtle Over the Years


/EINPresswire.com/ — While everyone is very aware of the recent ransomware attacks on large companies in the US, scammers are increasing their attacks on job seekers as well. From classic scam job postings and bogus job offers to the latest 3rd party apps that can hijack their LinkedIn profiles, job seekers need to be aware of the pitfalls of the modern job search.

Career coach Donna Shannon—a former corporate recruiter and expert at navigating the HR maze—has been working with job seekers since 2004 and has seen these scams become more sophisticated and subtle over the years. “Unfortunately, desperate candidates are all too willing to step into these traps just for a chance to land a lucrative job. As the employment markets continue to heat up as job markets improve, so do the scams.”

Classic Employment Scams



Spoofed Job Postings:


One of the longest running scams job seekers face are fake job postings. Even as early as the late 1990s, it was not uncommon for fake jobs to be posted, all with the intent to capture the applicant’s contact information to establish false identities. Today, these fake ads are more sophisticated, including spoofing real job ads that guide the job seeker to a website that looks authentic—but it’s not.

“In one case, we saw a job posting on Indeed for a high paying Customer Relations position in Denver,” says Shannon. “It had the company name, logo, and the exact description. It was the pay rate that gave me pause, as it was about $20,000 above everything else in the market. Rather than clicking through on the given link, I searched for the actual company and went to their website. The job was, in fact, real, but it was in Tennessee for considerably less than what the spoofed job ad was listing.”

Fake Job Offers:

Another tactic that scammers use is to send a formal job offer to an applicant. Once accepted, the new so-called employer will ask for seemingly common paperwork, such as a direct deposit authorization. Once they gain that banking information, they frequently clear out the accounts.

An old scam that is gaining a lot of traction revolves around work-at-home (WAH or WFH) opportunities. Thanks to the pandemic, more quality employers are open to letting their employees work from home. However, that also means very old scams are resurfacing as well.

Sometimes the work itself is a big hint that this may not be a real job. Some classics being: a secret shopper, simple assembly jobs, or being willing to accept packages for someone as their so-called personal assistant. Similarly, they may ask the job seeker to purchase packages and ship them to the employer. The scammer may even send a small stipend of money to help cover the costs, with a promise to pay back fully along with the promised pay rate once the receipts are submitted. Yet, those payments never come. Fortunately, there are ways to find a good WAH situation. Websites like FlexJobs.com require the employers to prove the validity of their job.

New Tactics

Problematic Third-Party Apps or Websites: It can be tedious to try to find and connect with key managers through LinkedIn or other platforms. This is the exact mindset that some apps and websites prey

While not always technically a scam, several websites have sprung up that promise to connect job seekers with hiring managers, growing their LinkedIn network by 20 to 50+ contacts a day. However, if this service is not formally approved by or associated with LinkedIn, it can cost the job seeker dearly.

“This actually happened to me,”confesses Shannon. “I allowed a thirdparty app do the network growth for me on LinkedIn. It even promised that because of the way it only hit 20 to 30 people a day, LinkedIn’s algorithms would not catch the automated connection requests. Well, that wasn’t true. LinkedIn found out within a week and pulled my ability to send any invitations or post to my feed for a month. Plus, I got a strong warning that if it happened again, LinkedIn would cancel my account, which has over 5,000 first degree connections.”

Unprofessional or Weird Communications:

Believe it or not, some job scammers try to entice job seekers by sending them text messages, chat features, or Gmail accounts that are not tied to a specific company. While direct messages from recruiters on LinkedIn are usually considered a trusted source, it helps to be very critical of any strangers reaching out to you personally, especially if you weren’t looking for a job.

“While I love using LinkedIn as a job-hunting source, there are in fact profiles or companies that can be fraudulent,” says Shannon. “For example, look for the completeness of the profile from the new contact. Are all the areas filled out? How many connections do they have?

Final Tips for Safety:

Like anything, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Double-check these fine points to keep your job search safe:

• Do not post your resume publicly on large sites.
• Look for obvious spelling or grammar errors in the job posting or in the communications with
• Don’t let recruiters pressure you to give out personal information too quickly in the
• Double-check the company’s direct website to make sure the job is listed.
• If you suspect a company, type their name into Google plus “scam” to check.


Donna Shannon, career coach, speaker, stand-up comic, and President of the Personal Touch Career Services, has been empowering business professionals with practical tools for the modern job search since 2004. Donna is the author of “Get a Job Without Going Crazy” and host of the “Tattooed Freaks in Business Suits” podcast. Her company is one of Denver’s top-rated resume and career coaching service on Google, with over 90 5-Star reviews.

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