Job fraud targets both applicants, employers

Gavel to Gavel

published in The Journal Record | December 29, 2022

By now, everyone knows they shouldn’t respond to an email from a supposed Nigerian prince who promises you a share of his fortune, if only you’ll help him get millions of dollars out of his country. But just when you think one scam or scheme has run its course, there’s another one to take its place. Take, for example, job recruitment fraud, which has gained in popularity since the start of the pandemic.

In this type of scam, fraudsters impersonate a company, create bogus job offers, and target job-seekers by using fake websites or email addresses. They then post the fraudulent employment opportunities online in order to obtain sensitive personal and financial information from the unsuspecting applicant. Some have gone so far as to impersonate a company’s former employees, communicate with them, and even extend job offers. Occasionally the scammers request payments as part of their fake recruitment process.

Like other online scams, job recruitment fraud is not a victimless crime, and employers may face reputational harm if they don’t take steps to minimize their risk of having their identities hijacked, or to promptly respond if recruitment fraud occurs.

If you’re an employer that has been a target of this scam, you should consult with counsel to take immediate action to get false domains taken down and to report the fraudulent domains to the appropriate registrars. Additionally, you should post a scam alert on your website to advise individuals of the recruitment fraud incident and to provide them with information about your recruitment process so they can avoid falling prey to fraudulent activity.

Even if your company hasn’t been targeted yet, there are steps you can take to combat these scams proactively. This includes updating your job postings, social media, and websites to provide specific information about your recruitment process. The content should identify authentic email addresses that will be used for recruitment purposes, inform applicants that the company does not use text messaging for recruitment, and identify specific webpages where applicants can view legitimate job postings. In addition, job applicants should be notified that your company will never ask for a financial commitment as part of the recruitment process, and that all interviews will be conducted in person or through video conference invitations from official company emails.