During this time of high unemployment, scammers go into overdrive. When people are in need of work, they’re more likely to fall for common scams. This is especially true for scams that claim to offer work-from-home opportunities—something in high demand for those who cannot return to their previous line of work at the moment.
Let’s take a look at the common scams out there and then talk about what employers can do to prevent their name from being used in conjunction with these scams.
Common Employment Scams
Scammers often post jobs and then prey on those unlucky enough to think the job posts are legitimate. They often use the names of real companies in an effort to get even more interest, as those companies can be researched and will appear to be real, even though the job is not.
The scammer’s goal is usually to get information—either personal information to facilitate identity theft or financial information to get money. An application is often enough to get an individual to divulge a lot of personal information, including Social Security numbers, birth date, etc.
Scammers looking for an immediate payout go a step further by requesting either banking info or direct payment for things like computers or other equipment, training materials, visa fees, application fees, and more.
Another type of job scam is when scammers try to get malware onto the would-be applicant’s computer or get access to his or her computer through some aspect of the process.
Yet another scam is when someone is told he or she has gotten a job and the scammer “accidentally” overpays the person by check and then requests the difference to be returned, only for the original check to bounce, sometimes weeks later, resulting in the individual’s losing the difference.
What Employers Can Do to Reduce Employment Scams in Their Name
Employers need to be aware of this because their company name could be used by a scammer, which can greatly damage the employment brand if it appears the companies are involved—even if they’re completely innocent of any involvement.
Here are some steps employers can take:
- Be proactive in trying to find fraudulent jobs posted by scammers with your company name. This can include monitoring common job boards and setting up alerts to get notifications when a combination of words is posted (such as your organization’s name and common job search terms). Ensure someone is responsible for monitoring the results of these notifications and confirming results are legitimate.
- Have a dedicated jobs page on the company website that shares the core company Web address so it’s easy to see if a jobseeker is being directed to a page that does not belong to the organization. For example, “www.yourcompanyname.com/jobs” is better than creating a separate, more generic page. Having a separate page will make it tougher for applicants to tell the difference between your page and a fraudulent site.
- Include a page on your website that outlines the whole recruitment process and notes the accurate websites that are used and e-mail suffixes used in communications. This can allow individuals to more easily see if they’re being directed to a spoofed or an illegitimate site.
- Include information on your website for jobseekers giving tips on how to recognize fraudulent job posts and how to protect themselves. Note that you will never ask for personal information like banking information as part of an application process. Also note that you will never charge for an application or for materials, so if someone has seen a post in your organization’s name asking for these things, he or she will know this is not legitimate.
This will unfortunately likely become more common as jobseekers try to return to work when the workplace reopens as we’re dealing with the coronavirus. However, this risk is present anytime and is something recruiters should be aware of.
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.