Q: Last week I received a work-from-home type of job offer in my inbox. I was directed to the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile to learn more about the company and the recruiter, however I was told not to contact the recruiter through LinkedIn, only through the initial email. I am about to send my personal information including SSN to secure the position, but I have a feeling something is off. Do you have any advice?
A: I’m glad to hear you are questioning this job offer, if you can call it that, and I really hope you read this before making a decision to send your information or accept the offer.
I can tell you with certainty that this job offer is indeed a fraudulent one; it was sent to you with an attempt to steal your information or to have you unknowingly participate in criminal activity.
Here at BBB we have been receiving reports that work-from-home scams are targeting job-seeking individuals harder than ever with a new twist of using a professional networking platform. In an attempt to make their potential victims feel more at ease and to make the job offer more plausible, scammers direct individuals to LinkedIn profiles belonging to recruitment staff from legitimate companies.
BBB has analyzed consumer reports and complaints regarding this scam and can tell you that the majority of these work-from-home job offers involve transferring money to various bank accounts as part of the “payroll deposit” job description. In some cases they involve re-shipping packages with unknown content.
Victims of work-from-home scams don’t realize that they are aiding cyber criminals in transferring stolen money or helping re-ship illegal or contraband goods. Both activities are unlawful and are subjected to prosecution.
Not all victims of work-from-home scams end up in criminal court, but many find themselves dealing with ID theft, maxed-out credit cards and cleaned-out savings accounts.
Here are some red flags and tips regarding this type of scam:
▪ Watch out for these phrases, scam ads or emails often contain phrases such as “Teleworking OK,” “Immediate Start” and “No Experience Needed.” Watch out for ads that urge you to apply immediately.
▪ Be very cautious of any job that asks you to share personal banking information. Scammers will often request banking info under the guise of running a credit check or setting up direct deposit, but in reality will use it to transfer stolen funds or steal yours.
▪ If a job looks suspicious, search for it online. If the result comes up in many other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam. Also, check the company’s job page to make sure the position is posted there.
▪ Contact your local BBB to check the company’s background or to check the offer with recent scam reports.
▪ Contact the company’s HR department to verify the job offer and identity of the recruiter.
▪ Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring him or her.
If you are a victim of a work-from-home scam, depending on the seriousness and extent of your involvement, you can start by filing a police report. You can report the scam using BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.