Fake Interviews Spike! Learn How To Step Away From Scammers

Amy Christie

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Thousands of people have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Work from home careers are more attractive than ever since they avoid health risks while still paying the bills. Fake interviews are on the rise so you need to know how to prevent risks.

No matter how much you know, it will still be tempting for a while

Particularly for freelancers or people who need to be at home while earning their income. Unfortunately, the time is ripe for job scammers who exploit people’s need for safety and try and weasel in with false offers that look too good to be true.

Is that dream job you found online a trap?

Looking for a legitimate job that pays you enough to take care of your family and keep your loved ones safe? And suddenly, you see an add that has it all. A high salary, PTO, overtime chances, allowance for your expenses, and even health insurance. Seems like you’re stepping into a dream?

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It probably is only that. WFH jobs that look uncannily perfect will very rarely be for real.

Save yourself disappointment, anger, or even humiliation by looking out for the most common alert signs. Whether the COVID-19 pandemic has left you without a job or you are simply looking for additional income, you need to be cautious about who you communicate with and what kind of information you give.

Fake interviews raise these major red flags:

1. Iffy email address

You will receive an email from a so-called recruiter pretending to be replying to your application for a particular job. Before you start checking out the text you need to look who is sending the email.

First of all, gmail-ending addresses trying to communicate about a company’s recruitment process are doubtful. Unless you are dealing with a startup and that company doesn’t have a working website yet you are most likely talking to a scammer out to get money from you.

The second cue is for more subtle and experienced fraudsters. They will create an email address that looks very similar to the company’s name and website. For example, it could include the company’s name after @, but the ending wouldn’t be ‘.com’, but something else such as ‘.us’, ‘.en’, ‘.web’ etc. It is essential to got to the company’s website and check the ending for the url. You can also go to the contact section and see what email address is listed there so you get a feel for the right ending of a legitimate communication from them.

To stay on the safe side always look up the part of the email after @ on Whois. This way you can see how long ago it was created. Scammers will generally only have created it a few days ago.

2. Real or pretend submission

You also need to open your account on the job board you are a member of or look at your sent emails to make sure you actually applied for that position.

If you discover you never applied, then the position is most likely invented, and the fake interview will lead you nowhere.

3. No direct communication

Scammers will avoid talking to you directly or being seen on camera at all costs. You need to beware of any interviews that require you to be texting the whole time.

Any reputable company will either set up a phone call or a video interview. Granted there are still some in person interviews taking place with safety precautions for COVID-19, but most of the recruitment process is done remotely. If you get no chance to hear or see the person contacting you on behalf of the potential employer something is seriously off.

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Insist on a call or a video meeting and see what they say. Most of the time you will get a lot of excuses why this isn’t possible or if you keep pushing for it they will just tell you that you are not the right person for the job.

Have no qualms about insisting on direct contact. You are not losing a valuable job, but rather avoiding delay, annoyance, or financial scams. Don’t download texting apps to talk to recruiters and don’t accept any interviews that are strictly in writing. You will never know who’s tapping on the keyboard on the other end. Don’t put yourself and your family at risk.

4. Watch out what kind of information you give out

So you went ahead and agreed to talk on text? It’s not the end of the world as long as you stay alert and don’t give information that could be damaging to you. As soon as you get requests to disclose your social security number, your bank account information, or any passwords related to your phone, or for apps that send out money end the conversation.

This is not a real interview. You are dealing with a fake recruiter out to get benefits from you.

5. Never pay to get hired

Companies pay you. End of story. Any payment required before or while you are hired as an advance for something is extremely suspicious. You will easily end up losing that money. Be watchful and you won’t end up pouring thousands of dollars down the drain. You and your family need that money. Don’t give it away to scammers.

Any time you are in doubt make a note on the email address, the Whois results, and the information they are trying to get. This way you can be certain you are only communicating with genuine recruiters. Don’t go for surreal opportunities that promise too much, too quickly. You could end up disappointed or worse, bankrupt. It is never an option to give sensitive information that could affect you for years to come.

Caution goes a long way and even if scammers get more creative all the time you can stay out of their clutches with the right strategy. Fraudsters shouldn’t discourage you from searching the best career opportunities. As long as you steer clear from them you can check out new career paths and go further to meeting your goals.

Stay safe and don’t get daunted in the job hunt! There are still great jobs out there. Step away from fake interviews and use your time wisely.

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX
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