Fake Tech Job Postings Are Everywhere. Here's How to Spot a Hiring Scam.

Fake Tech Job Postings Are Everywhere. Here's How to Spot a Hiring Scam.

With layoffs and the more than 25% of tech professionals who already want a new job, many IT workers are looking at online job postings to find their next role. The increase in virtual hiring and remote work has led to a significant uptick in the number of fake job postings put up by scammers seeking to steal personal information or money, and spotting them isn't all that easy.


The Prose of the Con: How Tech Scammers are Using Fake Job Postings to Steal Your Data

According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of fake job postings has seen a dramatic increase in the past few years, with the scammer’s improved ability to micro-target adding to an already opportune set of circumstances:

“The number of reported job scams nearly tripled to 104,000 between 2019 and 2021 and remained elevated in 2022, according to the FTC. These schemes—which often involve fictitious job listings, interviews with fake recruiters and sham onboarding processes to steal job seekers’ money or identities—proliferated during the pandemic alongside virtual hiring and remote work, according to Federal Trade Commission data.”

While most consumers have developed a good sense of how to detect phishing emails or other malware intended to trick them into providing sensitive information, it can be easy for those inside the tech industry to be lulled into a false sense of security as someone who is “in the know” and tech-savvy. The same due diligence and common sense practiced in day-to-day internet usage should be taken to evaluate job opportunities as well.

Similar to the increase in fake job postings, there has been a surge of fake job candidates that are attempting to fool hiring managers across North America. Here's 6 tips to spot fake candidates.

Red Flags for Job Seekers

While on the job search, you will probably come across an online job listing from a well-known company offering a great-looking remote job. Is it too good to be true? Is the company really the company it claims to be? What are the ways you can tell the real deal from a fake?

Here are some common things to look out for to stay safe against fake job scams. While searching for or responding to jobs online:

  1. Messages or job ads containing spelling or grammar mistakes.
  2. Messages that aren't addressed to you personally.
  3. Messages asking for sensitive personal or financial information.
  4. Messages that don’t come from the company’s email address.
  5. Interviewers without a strong, historical social media or digital presence – you can report fake profiles and get more info on scams per platform like LinkedIn.
  6. Company impersonators: Postings that mirror a reputable company, but there’s no link to the business, mismatched email or website domains, or there is difficulty with locating an address, business phone number, and/or email address.

While Interviewing:

  1. Interview requests to be conducted over text or chat like WhatsApp, rather than phone or Zoom, Teams.
  2. Inconsistent or incomplete answers to your questions about the job or company.
  3. An immediate job offer, or offers that seem too good to be true, i.e. exorbitant salary/minimal job requirements.
  4. Requests for payment of upfront costs such as equipment or background checks.

What Information Can I Give Out Safely?

When it comes to giving out personal information, it is normally wise to be wary of anyone asking for info that can lead to your identity being stolen; however, there is an exception to be aware of.

Typically, once you are in the final offer stages, you may need to provide your Social Security number (or Social Insurance Number) and date of birth to run a background check. Similarly, upon onboarding you may need to provide other personally identifiable information like your banking information for direct deposit purposes. These items are required in order to complete onboarding steps such as the background screening and payroll setup.

The industry best practice is to request this information through a secure third-party platform, never through fax, text or phone. With reputable entities, you can be assured that this information is well protected and will not be used for nefarious purposes.

How do I Protect Myself?

Job seekers are well advised to research potential employers thoroughly and scour corporate websites, social media profiles and online reviews to make sure a company is what it claims to be. Additionally, tech professionals should have market knowledge such as what salary ranges typically are for a role.

Even if it’s a legitimate company, if you have any doubts – call the company. If enough red flags have lit up, someone’s account or even the company could have been hacked.

Working with a reputable staffing agency such as Motion Recruitment is a way to mitigate your risk and put your mind at ease. These recruiting firms can be easily researched and verified, and usually have the same job listings you found on job boards along with others that businesses haven’t posted publicly. Research these staffing agencies – or verify that a company is real – on Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Comparably, learn more about their reputations and find the partner that’s right for you.

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One last step to take is to talk to someone you trust prior to accepting any offer. Describe the offer to them. What do they think? When looking at dozens of job descriptions and interviewing repeatedly, it can be easy to miss something. Having a second set of eyes can help either confirm that an opportunity is legit and discussing the role with another person also gives you time to truly consider the offer.

The bottom line is thiswhile there are some amazing jobs available in the tech industry, most of the time if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, with some common sense, due diligence, and advice from people and agencies you can trust, you can find the next job in your tech career and protect yourself from the bad guys.

Have you been affected by tech layoffs or are looking for the next steps in your IT career? Contact your local Motion Recruitment office today to speak with one of our recruiters about how we can help you take the next step in your tech career - and interview with real hiring managers with real jobs.

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