Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Job Seekers Beware

Hey Subbies,

We all heard of internet fraud or fraud in general, you may even know someone who was targeted or a victim of fraud. With all the ransomware and phishing going these it's getting harder for basic netizens to use the internet. You probably have a Yahoo, PlayStation, and Microsoft account that has possibly been compromised already. But what hell can you do? We all heard about that long lost family who is willing to send you their estate. However, there is a 2.0 version of this on sites you may not even be aware of. One being Job sites that you think are a safe haven for job seekers but they have a huge problem because of a scammer who:

  • Phishing/Spoofing: Both terms deal with forged or faked electronic documents. Spoofing generally refers to the dissemination of e-mail which is forged to appear as though it was sent by someone other than the actual source. Phishing, also referred to as vishing, smishing, or pharming, is often used in conjunction with a spoofed e-mail. It is the act of sending an e-mail falsely claiming to be an established legitimate business in an attempt to deceive the unsuspecting recipient into divulging personal, sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account information after directing the user to visit a specified website. The website, however, is not genuine and was set up only as an attempt to steal the user's information. - FBI

I was almost targetted for a scam via a job site I thought would allow me to start working in my field full-time. For someone like myself, fresh out of college you plaster your resume all over the job sites looking for something to move up the latter or just to get a job. The sites you've signed up for have a game plan to get you noticed quickly by a wide range of employers. Some sites are better than others and you get few calls or emails or callback. Your family, friends, and co-workers are wondering why you haven't been swooped up yet. Yourself esteem drops each time every month in a search for a job. You watch countless hours about the job markets and how it is affecting your peers, so you become desperate but no dice. Until you receive a promising email that you have been waiting for that they want to interview you for this job over a skype or google hangout and you're like great but little did you know that this was Red Flag Number 1.

You probably had jobs that use these applications to get in contact with you in the past but if they don't touch bases with a simple phone call or in person directly it's a no go. Just because you have been in school and or working part-time for the past four years doesn't mean you are all knowing because there are a lot of people preying on young and old job seekers like yourself even if you been on the web since you were ten. I think job sites are also to blame for allowing scamming to continue to allow unverified employers on their sites. I would hope job sites would vet their user's employers like Twitter verifies Institutions and Corporate businesses or don't have them.

I was almost scammed by an alleged employer who posing as a very well known company and was using a well-known job site to commit their scam. I applied for the job through one site which forwarded me to the job site that was I already signed up for. Two months later I kept getting alerts about this "company" with help the of the virtual job searching team trying to get a response from the employer. The scammer(s) employer finally reached out to me and even had my account displayed at the bottom of the e-mail so that it would put your mind at ease. They set up a fake time/date with a sense urgency or to email them back asap to reschedule that should throw up a red flag because most jobs will ask you to email or call them with time and date that works for you.

I want to also add this link for you to read from a Reddit user who was also scammed almost by the same "company." The user is a little more versed in online scams than I am but I wish I had found this post sooner since it was hard to find.

Once the scammers have your attention they will move fast to get you on their web. The interview will seem standard procedure. The scammer tells you they have to see if you are qualified for the job, so you wait an hour. Finally, you get a "Congratulations you seem to be fit for the job/company." Then they tell you to wait a day to do some "training."

A Red Flag hint after looking at this document more carefully is that the fonts they used are not the same fonts Telsa uses on their companies page and most employment agreements are simple and clean layouts. The document used similar fonts but for someone else who isn't well versed, it can be hard to spot.

The next day, they'll ask you for:

Documents to sign that they supply
Government issued ID
and possibly other sensitive information

Personally identifiable information-PII or SPI is used in information security and privacy laws, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context.
(1) name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name, or biometric records; 
(2) medical, educational, financial, and employment information." 

At this point, you might be yelling Identity Theft and you are correct it makes you not want to use any job sites that spoons feeds your information to potential scammers. The Scammer tells you that they will be sending you a check to start setting up an "office" and they send a low res image as a reference to make it look legit this is a huge red flag. Then they tell you to deposit it into your account, give them a receipt for proof and spend it on the required items. They want you to commit fraud because you are willing and a lot of banks are cracking down on this these day since it is so rampant.

How to spot a fake check (link):
Hint 1: If the check is bigger than standard commercial checks and has rounded corner borders it is a fake.
Hint 2: Signature has no spacing between each name or is hard to read.
Hint 3: All checks should have the bank and/or company logo undistorted or information.
Hint 4: The account number should be inside the check borders and align right.
Hint 5: Checks never have Check No. or No. written on the top right-hand side next to a number set.

Many scammers buy checks from office supply stores, which really makes it easy for people today to get scammed these days. If you find yourself in this situation I would advise contacting the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) and file a complaint online with the FBI and/or your local authorities. I feel like students who looking for a job should be made known of these issues when entering College/University and thru their career centers. I was never made aware of the possibility during my college life since I was already working. However, that is the last thing a student or newly alumni needs when they are having to deal financial burdens of going to school already.

If you come across a scam it is best to share that information with others, so that scammer can't get away it again. This was recommended when I read some of the government sites that I told to visit.