Horror Stories of the Hunt: How Scammers are Disrupting Your Job Search

woman staring at a computer screen with her mouth open in shock

It can be scary to begin a new job search. You can feel in over your head or not good enough for a position you really want. As if the search process wasn’t chilling enough, scammers are making it even worse with fake job offers.

You might be thinking, “That could never happen to me. I know better!” But just like the villain in a horror movie, scammers are pros at getting to people when they least expect it. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, 20,000 people fell prey to job scams and fake business opportunities. Don’t be the victim that chose to run upstairs instead of escaping out the open back door. Learn from these real-life scam stories and protect yourself as you search!

The Scam: A Fake Application

For Job Seeker #1, the scam was immediate. “The fake application was on many different platforms,” she said. “I received a response really fast on the same day.”

Fake applications are commonly found on job recruiting platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed. Scammers express interest swiftly and discuss an employment offer right away to get a candidate excited to move forward.

In this case, the internet is your friend. Be sure to do your research by carefully examining the company’s website and verifying that the contact information is correct. If the description is vague or the pay seems too good to be true, it’s probably best to steer clear.

The Scam: Interview Trickery

Con artists do their homework and try to make the process feel as real as possible. “The interview process consisted of phone calls, emails, and virtual interviews. That made it hard to catch because the process felt so real,” said Job Seeker #2.

In a post-covid world where many meetings are done virtually, emerging technology is being used as a manipulation tool. To gain control, scammers sometimes take the interview off popular platforms like Zoom or Teams and instead opt for unrecognizable sites.

If you are asked to do something that sounds suspicious, use common sense. Scammers might even ask an interviewee to click on links to hack into their computer. Additionally, legitimate businesses will never ask for any kind of payment for training courses or equipment. If this happens, you know it’s a scam.

The Scam: The Check Deposit

Instead of demanding that Job Seeker #3 buy his own equipment, the scammer sent him a check for reimbursement. Fortunately, the seeker recognized the risk. If he had deposited it, the scammer could have gained access to his information. “They asked for social security and private information really early in the process and used fake onboarding paperwork,” the seeker said.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends contacting the company directly to confirm validity.

The Scam: Too Good To Be True

Idealistic incentives can come in many forms, from extremely high pay to lower-than-average working hours. “Looking back, they promised a lot of unrealistic perks,” said Job Seeker #4.

Luckily, she noticed typos and spacing issues in her offer letter. It’s a common tactic scammers use in emails, and there’s actually a method to the madness. Typos help emails get past spam filters and may be overlooked by an eager jobseeker.

Don’t Be Scared, We Can Help!

At Morgan Hunter, our reputation is solid. Google us – we encourage you! Working with recruiters is a safe and confidential way to look for a new position that is protected from job scams. Click here to learn how we can help you find a legitimate career that fits all your needs.