If you’re looking for a job, be careful where you look. Scammers have picked up on a new trick where they take outdated ads from real honest-to-goodness employers, change the text around, then post them on employment websites and career-oriented platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed.
The modified ads seem to be real job offers with legitimate companies. But the scammer’s goal is to trick job seekers into sharing personal information like Social Security numbers, credit card information, etc.
So how do you know if you’re dealing with a scammer?
The first gotcha is that many of the hijacked job postings are angled toward people who want to work remotely and at their own speed, so the offers that are being fed are ones to work from home as a customer service representative or a personal assistant.
Step two is to ask you for information so they can – ahem – deposit your salary. Social Security number? Bank account number? Don’t do it.
They’re so brazen that sometimes, they say you got the job and send you a check to buy equipment that you have to cash (and send money to them). Every single one of those moves has “scam” written all over it.
In its Top 10 Work-from-Home scams, Aura adds that when you contact one of the supposed employers, they ask to conduct a quick job interview over WhatsApp or another messaging service. Or, that you’ll quickly be "hired" and asked to perform illegal work. But, when you catch on to the scam, the fake “company” will cut off all contact.
Other things to watch out for
On top of those alarms, the Federal Trade Commission says there are three other ways to spot and avoid phony job postings:
Verify job openings before you apply. Go to the official website of the organization or company you’re applying to and look at the company’s “career opportunities” or “jobs” section. If the job you’re being pitched isn’t there, take a hard pass.
Check out what others are saying. Search the name of the company along with words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” If there’s something fishy, the results might include the experiences of others who’ve lost money.
Never deposit a check from someone you don’t know. Let’s be real – a trustworthy employer will never send you a check and then tell you to send them part of the money.