We have seen a number of con artists swindling job searchers recently. In this new age of electronic interaction, phone and virtual interviews have become common. Combining this virtual environment and the comfort many people have now with sharing personal information in an absence of a physical meeting, job hunters are vulnerable to a new wave of fraudulent scams. Taking advantage of the convenience of a long-distance discussion where a job hunter really doesn’t know where the recruiter physically is, scammers pretend to hire would-be employees and obtaining either direct payments or access to the victim’s banking information.
Some scammers are requesting candidates electronically transfer funds to buy computers or software to be used in the new job. Scammers are communicating through texts, Zoom, Skype and other platforms, and even creating fake emails using the names of legitimate employees of a real company. Would-be employees are being duped through the interview process, told they are hired, and then asked for personal information, including banking information. Scammers are contacting the victims through online resumes and pretending to be a company representative to take advantage of individuals seeking a job. Once the money is transferred, it is nearly impossible to track down the scammer and the victims are left with nothing but embarrassment and a smaller bank balance during an already difficult time in their lives.
While it may be shocking to believe people are falling for this, they certainly do, and we’ve had such victims contact our firm for help. Unfortunately, there’s not much a lawyer can help with in this situation.
Avoid these scams by taking the following steps:
- If contacted via text or other app, call the business’s HR department and verify if they are contacting job candidates via text, zoom, or other apps. (Often, the receptionist will let you know immediately if their company name is being used in these types of scams).
- Don’t ever pay a would-be employer for anything, such as computers, software, or supplies; especially when they request payment via an app such as Zelle, Cash App, or another method which is difficult or even impossible to file a claim against or track.
- Use common sense: Is a company really going to pay an employee $80,000 a year without ever meeting them in person?
- Ask yourself why the company’s attorney or executive level officer is contacting you directly for a data entry job; those individuals do not hire or interview candidates for lower-level positions.
If you suspect that you are talking to a con artist, contact the Texas Attorney General to make a complaint if your money is already taken. If you think that there is some reason to believe that we could track down a local bad culprit, that is another matter, but for the most part, the few hundred dollars you’ve paid for mysterious software that the “recruiter” says you need for your new job is probably long gone and there’s little we can do.