In December, David, the regional manager of a Toronto-based tool company, had to be the bearer of bad news for many job seekers who thought they would find employment with his company.
A few months ago, David and his team noticed a number of suspicious calls coming into the organization’s general contact line. All of the callers asked to speak to the human resources department about the roles they said they had been hired for. They all cited a recruiter by name — who had actually worked with the company — but said they were not given any direct contact information during their hiring. This was unusual for the company’s hiring process, and when the call was flagged by HR, the department confirmed that the roles did not exist.
And then there were walk-ins.
“We had five or six people in our lobby on what was supposed to be their first day, saying, ‘I’m here for my job.’ It was just before Christmas and it was really painful to talk to these people,” recalls David, who requested only his first name be used because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of his employer. “A lot of the stories were, ‘I told my wife and my family and friends about this great new role, and now I have to go back and tell them I made a fool of myself.'”
Job seekers were victims of recruitment scams – something that fraud and employment experts say has become much more prevalent since the start of the pandemic and remote work boom, While the details can vary, most job scams follow a similar script: scammers pose as managers or recruiters, often scraping details of real recruiters to create profiles that look authentic to a company. Are. sites like linkedin, Then, they reach out to job seekers about employment opportunities, or post fake job listings online. Jeff Horncastle, Communications Outreach Officer Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC), says scammers can also create an alternate Web presence for a company by simply changing the domain name, such as replacing the letter “I” with the letter “L.”
Lured into a false sense of security, job seekers go through a virtual interview process and quickly receive job offers, often at the upper end of the market rate for that position, and are asked to provide personal information. such as their social insurance number and driver’s license—which can lead to identity theft. the federal government says Employment scams are also frequently exposed for money laundering or pyramid schemes. In some cases, applicants are provided with a check and instructed to deposit it into their account and e-transfer some or all of the money for services, such as on-the-job training. After the money is sent, the bank will refund the deposit because the check is bogus.
That did the trick in David’s company. David says the victims he spoke with received an offer letter in the mail and were sent a check amounting to about $4,000, which they were asked to deposit and then pay to a job-training company. While the amount on the check would initially appear in their account, the check eventually bounced – the victims had already e-transferred the funds.
effect of job scams
According to the CAFC, Canadians could lose $7 million to job scams in 2022. While this was down slightly from the 2021 high of $9.4 million, both years were higher than 2020’s loss of $4.4 million. Horncastle says job scams are consistently among the CAFC’s annual top 10 scams based on the number of reports and dollars lost. But the center believes the scams are dramatically underreported, and the official numbers represent just five to 10 percent of actual losses.
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has seen scams grow “smarter,” said Oscar Rodriguez, vice president of product management at LinkedIn. told financial Times in February. “We see websites being set up, we see phone numbers with a seemingly professional operator answering on behalf of the company,” Rodriguez told the outlet. “We move on to more sophisticated deception.”
at your most recent transparency reportLinkedIn said that between January and June 2022, it blocked 16.4 million accounts suspected of being scammers, “actively” banning 5.4 million, before any members reported them , and after 190,000 LinkedIn users flagged him.
While LinkedIn has been public about its crackdown on job scams, Mike Shekhman, senior regional director at the Vancouver-based employment agency Robert Half Canadasays they’re also happening on other job boards and career sites, like Indeed, as well as social media sites like Facebook and even on Craigslist.
Horncastle says job seekers across the board, especially those who have posted their resume and indicated they are looking for work, are being targeted by scammers. “Scammers don’t discriminate,” says Shechtman. Robert Hoff has observed that they go after two vulnerable groups: early-career professionals who don’t have enough work experience to identify unusual hiring practices, and new Canadians. . “Some of the scams we’ve seen have grammatical errors that might not initially raise questions for someone whose first language isn’t English,” he says.
Job Scam Red Flags: Things to Watch for
Horncastle says common job scam red flags include making a job offer immediately after an interview, or receiving a job offer by email without an interview, which the scammer will claim is because of the job seeker’s skills. Is. No legitimate employer will request that an applicant accept or deposit money, he adds—even for training.
Shechtman encourages job seekers to pump the brakes if they provide personally identifying information to a recruiter before formally accepting a role. “There is no situation where you should be giving out your SIN, your banking information or your driver’s license unless you are hired,” he says.
He says applicants should spend time doing their due diligence on the company’s website, ensuring they are being contacted by someone whose domain name matches the one listed on the site. It’s also wise to run the company name and the word “scam” through a search engine to see if there are any warnings online.
On LinkedIn, users can access a new “About this Profile” feature, which shows them when the profile was created and last updated, and whether the member has a verified phone number or work email. Or not. It also adds a warning message to some private messages in case the recruiter asks to move the conversation to another platform.
David says that thankfully his company hasn’t heard from any more scam victims since December. But after the alarming experience, the business added a disclaimer to job postings that all jobs required applicants to apply directly through the careers page on its website.