The employment searching landscape has evolved significantly in recent years, with online platforms like LinkedIn becoming indispensable tools for job seekers. Gone are the days of walking into in-person interviews with resumé in hand, replaced by digital forms and applications that rarely require human interaction. This has opened many doors and opportunities for those looking for new jobs but has also brought various challenges and vulnerabilities.
Issues Lurking on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has transformed the job search process by providing a platform for networking, connecting with potential employers, and showcasing one’s professional experience. However, lurking amongst all the jobs, gigs, and networking opportunities are several scams and related issues targeting the millions of people looking for work through the site.
Fake profiles, postings, and recruiters are at the heart of LinkedIn scams. And with over 100 job applications submitted every second, it’s easy to see why it’s become a target. Like nearly all other social media platforms, profiles are easily faked despite consistent efforts to thwart them. Any scammer or bad actor can create a fake LinkedIn profile or posting in minutes. They often pretend to be a recruiter or industry professionals and attempt to lure job seekers into phony job offers or phishing schemes.
There are two primary ways a LinkedIn scam plays out, and having these on your radar can help prevent you from falling victim. These aren’t the only scams on the platform, but they are the two most prolific.
The first happens when you get a job offer that looks enticing. It may be from a company or industry you are interested in or have already interacted with in some way. The offer will appear in your inbox alongside a link with more details or a quick video of the job and related organization. But this is all an integral part of the scam that encourages you to let your guard down long enough to enter valuable personal information through another link or landing page. Once you provide that information, the scammers have everything needed to steal your identity or commit other types of fraud.
The other scam is an advance fee scam. This one involves fake recruiters or profiles reaching out and saying you are a successful applicant for a position. They then request or require you to send money, which they claim will be paid back immediately. The scammers here will instruct the job-hunting victim that this money is for a background check, training materials, or some other cost related to securing the job. As you might imagine, the scammer goes dark once you send the money over, and you never see the funds again.
Other Threats Impacting Your Job Search
LinkedIn and other popular job search-specific sites are the most likely sources of a job-hunting scam, but they aren’t the only threats out there. If you or anyone you know are actively seeking employment, be on the lookout for any of these red flags wherever you’re searching.
- Phishing attacks: Scammers might monitor individual digital browsing history and target victims with deceptive emails or messages, posing as employers or job search platforms to trick a job hunter into revealing personal information.
- Resumé scams: Scammers will comb over job search websites for personal information listed on resumés listed by job seekers. This information can be used for identity theft and fraud.
- Bogus background checks: Fake background check companies may request sensitive information from job seekers, promising to verify their credentials but using the information for identity theft.
- Pyramid schemes: A classic scam that entices victims into joining a scheme that requires them to recruit others to invest money, with the promise of substantial returns.
- Remote work frauds: Scammers offer remote work opportunities that appear legitimate but involve illegal activities, such as reshipping goods or handling fraudulent financial transactions.
- Work-from-home deceptions: Scammers exploit the increased demand for remote work by offering jobs that sound too good to be true, luring individuals into paying for nonexistent opportunities.
Why It Matters
Whether you are just diving into the workforce or need a new opportunity, job hunting can be an exciting and terrifying experience. Without steady income, most of us go into a fight-or-flight state that can impact decision-making and best practices related to our digital habits.
This can be a recipe for disaster when posting personal information on job sites, within your resumés, or to any recruiter (real or fake) that reaches out. Despite your best efforts to find gainful employment, scammers await you to let your guard down and pounce. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a modern reality.
You can better safeguard your job hunt by researching companies and job listings before providing any personal information and staying skeptical of any offer that seems too good to be true. Always be cautious of job offers that promise unusually high salaries or require upfront payments and report any suspicious job postings to the platforms on which they are posted or even the authorities.
Plenty of great real jobs are available online, but they exist alongside a plethora of scams. The more aware of these you can be while navigating LinkedIn or any other digital domain during your search will pay off in the form of actual job offers and a reduced risk of identity theft.
LibertyID provides expert, full-service, fully managed identity theft restoration to individuals, couples, extended families* and businesses. LibertyID has a 100% success rate in resolving all forms of identity fraud on behalf of our subscribers.
*LibertyID defines an extended family as you, your spouse/partner, your parents and parents-in-law, and your children under the age of 25.