If you are looking for a job right now, chances are you have encountered (or perhaps even applied) to a fake job listing. They are increasing in volume on popular job board websites (like Indeed) and it can be difficult to determine what is real and what is fake.
How the scammer makes money:
Normally, job applications have you give the potential employer a lot of sensitive information, so identity theft is a concern when you fill out those types of forms for bad actors. Typically, however, the scam is a bit more complex than just identity fraud.
The scammer is going to offer you a position within their fake company, and one of your job duties is going to involve cashing a check.
When you cash a check at your bank, it can take weeks for the money to actually be transferred into your account. Typically, the bank will “loan“ you the amount of the check while they wait for the money to clear. If the check is fake (or if the account associated with the check doesn’t have enough money), the check will bounce and the bank will withdraw the amount of money they credited you when you initially cashed the check from your account, as well as charge you a fee.
Scammers will send you a fake check and then take advantage of the time it takes before it bounces by having you withdraw the money from your account immediately and then wire it to them. By the time the check bounces, the money will already be gone and your bank account will go into the negative.
The job description:
The job description for fake jobs will vary, but some indicators that the job is fraudulent could be:
- Broken English
- An hourly wage that seems too high for the job title ($30-40 an hour for an entry level job)
- Lack of a company name
One thing is almost always true after applying to a fake job listing: you will get an email.
Fake job listings rarely message you using the internal messaging service that is offered on the job board website. Instead, they will send you an email where they will try to set up an interview.
Many times, the interview will be text based (either through a messaging client or through email). Most legitimate companies are not going to hire you without at least hearing your voice. You will be hired on the spot, and then will be asked to give your personal information to the scammer so that they can send you your fake check.
What to do if you’ve already been scammed:
If you have applied to a fake job listing but haven’t attended the interview, just cease communication with the scammer.
If you attended the interview and have already given them your address and other information, throw away the check that you receive and cease all communication with the scammer.
If you have given them your social security number, freeze your credit so that they can not open any accounts in your name.
You can read more about how to spot fake job listings here.