Fraud is on the rise

Fraud Is Increasing During Covid-19, Including Job Scams

Covid-19 forced many of us into lockdown and dramatically increased unemployment all over the world. With so many people searching for work, it’s no surprise that job scams have become one of the most popular methods amongst fraudsters.

What Are Job Scams?

Job scams are fraudulent job posts intended to collect confidential information of respondents or to trick them into sending money or paying for goods and services the respondent doesn’t want. Scammers post under both invented companies and familiar brands. They don’t limit their activities to big job search platforms; you might encounter job scams on social media platforms, email and SMS.

Identity Theft

One of the most common scams is a long con that takes you through the interview and onboarding process so that fraudsters can collect all of your personal information. After you’ve supplied your address, SIN and banking information, you stop hearing from them. If you look for another way to contact the hiring manager, you discover that the company doesn’t seem to exist. The goal of this scam is identity theft.

The Expense Scam

Another common scam is similarly complex, but instead of seeking personal information during the onboarding process, they will ask you to pay for a variety of setup expenses with the promise of reimbursement. This might include buying software or hardware through an unusual process they specify. Instead of ordering a new Mac Book from Best Buy, you’re asked to use a “preferred vendor”. The vendor link, of course, leads to the fraudsters themselves. The goal of this scam is to get as much money from you as quickly as possible and then move on.

In a recent example of the expense scam, a Canadian man who’d been laid off due to Covid-19 jumped at the chance to start a new remote job, but quickly discovered that the opportunity was fraudulent. He was taken in because the scammers successfully impersonated Sobeys.

The Career Counseling Scam

The third most common form of job scam is fraudulent employment services. These include resume writing, career counseling and training services. It works the same way as the other two common scams: the “counselor” walks you through their services, perhaps even providing you a sample, but after you click buy, nothing happens. You’ve been convinced to pay for services that don’t exist.

There are other less complex scams intended to phish or exploit vulnerabilities in your systems. The best approach to avoiding any scam is basic, mindful internet usage: don’t click on links or texts from mysterious sources; don’t click on too-good-to-be-true offers from trusted brands.

Why Employment Fraud Rising?

Employment fraud is rising because fraudsters have correctly identified high unemployment as a great opportunity. With so many people looking for work, some of them desperate, their chances of success are higher than ever. It’s an unfortunate reality that there will always been some scammers out there eager to exploit the most vulnerable, and right now, many of us are vulnerable.

If you are engaged in a job search it is essential that you:

  • Be cautious about clicking on ads and links
  • Verify the source of the job post or ad
  • Research the company before applying
  • Only buy employment services from reputable companies
  • Never give out personal and employment information until you have researched the company and a formal offer has been extended

Treat your job search like you do a product search. Be cautious, be thorough and take your time in assessing potential employers and their offers.

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