Sending a job application over the Internet? Think again!

In light of the Covid-19, many people on the planet have lost their jobs. Searching for a job is intimidating and frustrating, but should you grasp the first opportunity given to you? Human Resource managers have shifted their strategy to digital recruitment. However, Scamwatch, has reported 990 job employment scams in Australia since January 2020.

Pretending to be an overseas employment agency while setting up a website that looks real, scammers seize the moment to prey on the victim’s predicament. When applying for a job via the Internet, you should differentiate legitimate opportunities from fake opportunities and spot suspicious activities. Some links would take you to a recruiting portal where you fill the information needed to steal your identity. You might be a victim of a phishing attack as these links can install malware or at least expose sensitive data. Also, you might download unwanted software like spyware and adware. These programs will give a scammer access to your computer where they can add or delete your documents. According to Professor Michelle Moore, the Academic Director of the Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership at the University of San Diego, hackers use this technology to steal credit card credentials or gain access to a private data base. Take the time to check the commercial register to make sure that the company is a legal entity.

In 2017, I came across a false job opportunity on a classified ad website. The company pretended to have several offices worldwide, one of them is located in Australia where a hotel is offering a manager position. A few unusual things, lead me to investigate the company. Their street address was a fake screenshot and I couldn’t find any piece of information about their senior officers.

Tripwire describes hackers as people who endeavor to obtain personal information, such as names and addresses. In fact, after receiving the job application, fake companies ask for your ID in order to proceed with the employment. By doing so, you are helping your fake employer access a wider circle of victims.

Targeting people who are looking for a job is a widespread old scam. But according to a report published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in January, this scam comes with a new twist. For economic purposes, the fraudsters leverage their position as “employers” to persuade victims to provide them with their bank account numbers. People have been filing complaints to the FBI and the average loss is $3000 per victim.

Ever heard about a pyramid scheme? Multilevel marketing? Direct sales? Network marketing? Or an ad that claims, ‘This job will make you a billionaire’. According to Fraud.org, an illegal pyramid scheme is when you need to recruit your friends to join. Roland Abi Najem, cybersecurity and digital marketing consultant, has published a video on Facebook explaining the various types of money-making scams. “These companies never shed light on the importance of selling the product,” he said. “They emphasize the importance of your networking and influencing skills. They want you to bring more victims under the pyramid and half of them won’t be making money.”

Scamming the scammers: Is it safe?

Scamming the scammer is a full-time job. When dealing with a scammer, you are adding yourself to their naughty pile list. Sending an email to people you don’t know might be risky as there are VoIP resolvers that will tell the scammer your IP address. Software engineers have access to the user’s interactions on the website. They would know how many times you opened the website from a precise location.

On the other hand, you might be smarter than your scammer. A job application over the internet reminds me of the cartoon series, Detective Conan. Research and connect the dots! When criminals ask you to enter your PII online, they will use “http://” instead of “https://”. But this is not sufficient as they might use “https://”. Have you looked before on the small icon before https://. What if you can see the Google translate logo?

Another tip that will let you avoid job scams is checking the recruiter’s email address. Match it with the companies’ name and copy/paste it to the search entry with the word “Scam” to see if anyone has reported it. Also, copy/paste a paragraph of the email to the search box to detect a fake employer.

Good luck with your next job search.

To read the article on Inside Telecom Website with the host Ranine Awwad, click here

Roland Abi Najem

Cyber Security & Digital Transformation -  Consultant & Expert
CEO – Revotips Expert Tech Consultants

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