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Recruiting Scams Are on the Rise

A person is holding a credit card while using a smartphone.

​Online recruiting scams have re-emerged to prey on job seekers and employers. The Better Business Bureau tracked more than 3,000 recruiting scams in the first 10 months of 2018 with losses in the million dollars.

The online recruiting scam works this way: the scammer fraudulently uses a company's name and logo, and perhaps the names of the company's employees handling recruiting or human resources, to solicit applications from job seekers for fake jobs. Many times, the companies are household names or long established, which gives the scam an air of legitimacy. Sometimes the solicitation comes by e-mail, but most often it is posted on a professional or recruiting website or social media platform. Like most phishing schemes, the scammer's e-mail address is similar to, but not the same as the legitimate company's e-mail address.

Job seekers responding to the scammer's solicitation are offered fake job interviews by phone followed up by fake job offers. As part of "onboarding" the new "employee," scammers ask the job seeker for his or her sensitive personal information, such as a Social Security number and bank account information for direct deposits. In some cases, the scammers even ask the job seeker for money to run background checks, obtain certifications or cover alleged "advance costs" of office supplies. Because many jobs today involve remote or home offices, these types of advance cost requests for supplies or do not appear wholly unreasonable.

In an effort to shut down this type of activity, would-be employers have added a recruiting page (or added to that page) on their corporate websites alerting job seekers that these types of recruiting scams exist and how to avoid them. A recruiting page addressing these scams makes clear that the company's recruiting process requires job applicants to apply directly through the application process on the company's corporate website. There, job seekers can securely complete an online application and/or upload a resume, references etc., and avoid the scammer's trick inviting them to e-mail documents or use the scammer's link on a third-party website or platform.

In addition, recruiting pages addressing these scams state that the employer would never ask a candidate for payment of any kind as part of the hiring or onboarding process. Most importantly, these recruiting pages warn candidates not to provide his or her sensitive personal information, such as a Social Security number, over the phone or by e-mail.

If a company receives a call or e-mail from an individual who has been scammed by a fake recruiter, the company could recommend that the individual contact his or her state's attorney general's office to report the scam, and also, report the scam to the business or recruiting website or social media platform that might have been involved.

Kathleen Porter is a partner in the Boston office of law firm Robinson & Cole LLP (Robinson+Cole). © 2018 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved. Republished from the Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog with permission.


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