Job Opportunity Scams

Scammers offer incredible job opportunities, but they actually want your financial or personal information. Find out how to recognize and recover from these types of scams.

Step 1:Recognize

Red Flags of a Job Opportunity Scam

If you are contacted by someone about a job opportunity or find a job listing that seems too good to be true, there are some red flags to look for that may indicate that you are being scammed, such as:

  • The employer is vague about the position.
  • The job sounds too good to be true.
  • The company is asking for personal information upfront.
  • You’re being asked to pay for something, like an application fee or training materials.
  • The company is not well known and has no online presence.
  • The job listing is full of typos and grammar errors.
  • You’re being pressured to make a decision quickly.
  • The interviewer doesn’t seem to know anything about the company.
  • The company refuses to give you a direct contact number.
  • The only way to communicate with the company is through email.

Step 2:Immediate Actions

If you think you are the victim of a job opportunity scam, it is important to take action right away to protect yourself and your finances. Here are some steps to take if you think you have been scammed:

  • Contact the company that the scammer claimed to represent. If the company is legitimate, they will be able to tell you if the job offer was a scam or not.
  • If you provided financial information, like your credit card number or bank account information, contact your bank or credit card company right away. They may be able to help you cancel the transaction or get your money back.
  • If you sent funds via gift card or money transfer, report the scam to the issuer. They might be able to help you stop the transaction. Find their contact information by visiting their legitimate website.
  • If you provided personal information, like your Social Security number, you may be at risk for identity theft. Keep an eye on your credit report and financial accounts for any unusual activity, and consider placing a freeze on your credit.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is a nonprofit organization that tracks complaints against businesses, including job opportunity scams.
  • Save all information and messages provided to you by the scammer. You may need to provide this information to law enforcement when you file a report.

Step 3:Report

Reporting any type of cybercrime, including job opportunity scams, is imperative to help others avoid being scammed. As a society, the more people that report online scams and fraud, the more national reporting data that is collected, and the better chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease cybercrime.

Step 4:Recover

Learn the Three Golden Rules to Spot a Scam

Scammers often utilize tactics to encourage you to act quickly and will use false information to persuade you to send money or personally identifiable information (PII). When faced with a questionable situation online, always follow the three golden rules to spot a scam:

Slow it down — Scammers often create a sense of urgency. They may be pushy or aggressive in their request for you to pay a fee. Take your time, ask questions and do your research to avoid being rushed into a bad situation.

Spot check — Do your research to double check that the job is legitimate. Conduct an internet search by looking up the company or the person who contacted you followed by words like “scam” or “complaint.”

Stop! Don’t send — Real companies and employers will not ask you to pay for a job. If they request payment of any kind, it’s a scam.

Take 5 Steps for Better Online Security

Along with making sure you follow the three golden rules to spot a scam, it’s important to strengthen your online security to help avoid all types of online scams. Take action to improve your digital posture by following these steps:

  1. Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA): Passwords are generally easy for scammers to crack, and even if you use strong passphrases, there’s still the possibility that a cybercriminal can obtain your passphrase in a data breach. Implementing MFA is a great way to maximize your security and ensure that you are the only one who can gain access to your accounts. MFA should be implemented on all accounts where it is available. Check your account’s security settings to see if it is something you can set up.
  2. Update Your Privacy Settings: Privacy settings allow you to control your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, financial details, photos or videos, etc) and how that information is used. Review your privacy settings on all of your accounts including your social media accounts. Consider restricting who can see your friends list, contacts, photos and posts.
  3. Activate Automatic Updates: Automatic updates are a set of changes to an app, software or operating system that are automatically pushed by the developer to fix or improve it. Oftentimes, cybercriminals take advantage of security flaws to plant malicious software on your devices. By activating automatic updates, you will automatically patch security vulnerabilities to protect your data.
  4. Create Strong Passphrases: A strong passphrase is a string of unrelated words separated by hyphen, space, period, capitalized first letter or number. Use passphrases that are longer than 15 characters and include multiple words that do not have any obvious connection between them. The key to passphrases is randomness. Don’t repeat your passphrases between accounts and consider using a password manager to help you remember.
  5. Learn the Elements of a Phishing Attempt: Familiarize yourself with the elements of a phishing email. Phishing emails tend to include a sense of urgency and multiple grammar and spelling errors. If they are asking you to reveal personal information, be suspicious. If you get a strange email, try contacting the company another way to confirm they sent that email. If the email is suspicious, mark it as spam.

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Without Fightcybercrime.org, I don't know if I would have been able to react as quickly to protect my personal information.
Mary - Indianapolis, IN

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