How to Detect and Avoid Fake Recruiter Scams
Has a recruiter approached you, but something just doesn't seem right? As with almost everything else online, there's a scam for that.
There are scammers who pretend to be recruiters in order to access your confidential information and even your bank account. Fake recruiter scams are an all-too-common occurrence.
Job recruiter scams can be tough to spot, since the perpetrators can be quite sophisticated in their tactics.
Often, they use information from real companies, resume information found online, and other details to make the jobs they offer sound convincing.
Some of these fake recruiters go so far as setting up fake profiles on LinkedIn. Or, they may have their own websites that show them as an independent recruiter.
For scammers, the end goal is always the same: theft. Sometimes, scammers try to deceive you into paying them cash as some type of fee for job processing. In other instances, they will attempt to steal a job applicant's personal details (such as their social security number) for identity theft purposes.
What is a Fake Recruiter Scam?
The scammer might send you emails, chat with you online, or make phone calls that lead you to think you've received a genuine job offer. Have you received an email or message from a recruiter who says you're a perfect candidate for the job they are trying to fill? It could be legitimate, or it might be too good to be true.
With this type of job scam, the jobs often promise above-market salaries, and the recruiters don't ask you for very much information about your skills or whether you'd actually be a good fit for the job. These scammers also typically act very eager to "close the deal," using time pressure to get you to give them what they want.
How the Scammer Got Your Information
The scammer most likely got your personal information by posing as an employer on a job board and accessing your resume that was posted online. Or they could be randomly connecting with people on social media or posting job listings in Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
Warning Signs to Watch For
Learn to recognize some of the warning signs of these scams. For example, the fake recruiter will ask for all or the last four numbers of your social security number, along with other personal information. Another tip-off is if the recruiter asks for you to provide your credit card number or checking account information.
The scammer might also ask you to fill out a simple form online to start the hiring process. They could even ask you to complete an application form, banking forms, and other documents that have employment terms and conditions.
Fake recruiters often share positions at Fortune 500 companies, so the name recognition alone can lead you to believe the jobs are legitimate.
The recruiter will seem much more interested in getting you excited about the job and collecting your information than in determining whether your skills actually qualify you for the job.
Some may even offer you the job without so much as a phone interview. Recruiters may say that the job does not require any skills or experience, or the salary may be much higher than the typical salary for the role.
Genuine recruiters spend a lot of time making sure you're the right fit for a company rather than giving you the hard sell to convince you to take a job.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed
Before you provide any personal information to a recruiter, check them out to make sure they are legitimate. For starters, check the person's profile on LinkedIn, or view the company page for their employer.
If the recruiter's LinkedIn profile has few connections or doesn't have complete information, be on guard. Copy the recruiter's photo and text from their LinkedIn profile, then paste it into Google and perform a search. Scammers often steal information from legitimate listings to create their fake profiles. Also, take note that recruiters don't ever need your social security number.
Search the person's name plus the word "scam" online to see if anyone's posted any complaints. If you're still not sure, ask for client references and check them out.
The Better Business Bureau and your state's Attorney General's Office can also be a source of information about scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
If someone says they're working directly for a specific company, verify that this "company recruiter's" email address matches the genuine company's site email address, and call the company to verify that they have an employee by the name of the person who's contacting you.
BE SKEPTICAL. If it sounds too good to be true, it may be. Getting a job offer without an interview is extremely unlikely. Research recruiters before engaging with them.
YOU SHOULDN'T NEED TO PAY. A legitimate job offer does not require you to pay before getting details.
DO NOT SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION. Some job recruiter scams seek to steal your identity. Do not share credit card or bank account information or provide your social security number.
Fortune. "Recruiting Scams Are ‘Prolific,’ Experts Say. Here’s How to Avoid Becoming a Victim," Accessed June 11, 2020.
Federal Trade Commission. "Job Scams." Accessed June 11, 2020.