How to Detect Job Recruiter Scams and Avoid Them

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Fake recruiter scams have become more prevalent lately, and victims sometimes have difficulty spotting them since the perpetrators use information from real companies, resume information they've found online and other details that make the jobs they offer sound convincing.

Some of these fake recruiters go so far as setting up profiles on the LinkedIn website, or they have a website of their own showing them as an independent recruiter.

Fake Recruiter Scams

The scammer has a goal to deceive you into paying cash to them as some type of fee for job processing, or they'll attempt to steal your personal details to use for identity theft purposes.

The scammer might send you emails or make phone calls that lead you to think you've received a genuine job offer. Have you received an email or instant 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 scam, the jobs often promise above-market salaries, and the recruiters don't ask you for very much information about your skills and 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 They Work

Learn to recognize some of the warning signs of these scams. For example, the recruiter will ask for all or the last four numbers of your social security number, along with other personal 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, for example. 

The jobs these fake recruiters use often show as 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, rather than seeing if your skills actually qualify you. Some may even offer you the job without so much as a phone interview.

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 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.

Avoid Getting Scammed

Before you give out any personal information to a recruiter, check them out to make sure they are legitimate. For starters, check the person's profile on, 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 your 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 profile.

Also, take note that recruiters don't ever need your social security number.

Google the person's name plus the word "scam," to see if anyone's posted any complaints. Also, check directories of recruiters like Bullhorn's Find a Recruiter, which is searchable by keyword (use last name) and location. If you're still not sure, ask for client references and check them out.

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.