The tricky world of online job scams

Fraudsters ask for a security deposit and even provide fake documents before disappearing into thin air

By   |  Anil Rachamalla  |  Published: 20th Apr 2021  12:05 amUpdated: 20th Apr 2021  12:06 am

The number of people getting trapped in online job scams are on the rise, more in the recent times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the shrinking private and public job sector. Adding to this is the large number of students passing out from professional colleges.

Scammers collect data of unemployed youth found on job portals using the dark net and then publish advertisements in newspapers, pamphlets, send mass mailers and even contact victims directly over phone.

They book star hotels for interviews and during the interview, ask for a security deposit, interview fee or other charges, and in turn, provide fake documents (appointment offers) before disappearing into thin air. Interestingly, they also create fake websites of reputed companies, job portals and even government departments to mislead applicants.

Victim’s profile

Most victims are from tier 2 or tier 3 cities, who come to tier 1 cities for jobs. Many of them are graduates from lesser known colleges or institutes, having poor interpersonal communication skills and having less than three years of work experience.

A few examples of job scams

* Background entry job scams – Bypass all formal interview processes and get a job without being qualified officially in reputed companies.

* Work from home job scams – The victim is offered to be employed at home for doing very simple tasks with minimal effort for hefty income.

* Data entry job scams – Asked to sign a legal contract for doing a simple data entry job that has a penalty clause.

* Social media following scams – The victim is lured by an offer for doing some simple task (Follow, Like, Share, and Comment) in exchange for a hefty income.

* Abroad job/education scams – Offer you a visa guarantee for a Job / Education for a hefty charge.

* Career consulting scams – Offer you resume writing, resume forwarding, organising interviews, or other career-related services for a charge.

Identifying a possible scam:

(a) You get the job immediately after a quick phone or instant message interview.

(b) Many scam emails will look like they come from real companies but they are unprofessionally written and here are some examples

* Sending from Gmail / Yahoo Accounts instead of official domain emails

* Alternatively, they might use a spoofed website i.e. jobs@bankof-america.com instead of jobs@bankofamerica.com

* No Salutation i.e. Mr. or Ms., They just give the name which means a template is compiled and pasted for many people.

* Capitalisation errors; errors in punctuation, commas, paragraph apart from grammatical errors

* Email Signatures having only mobile numbers and they do not publish a board number with an extension.

* Email ID may be spoofed, Please check the Email header thoroughly

(c) Online Interviews via Instant Messaging platforms.

(d) Google/ LinkedIn / Official Domain search results do not show up proper results of the openings interviewed for.

(e) If you are asked to provide personal information (Aadhar, PAN or Passport) under the pretext of background check, ensure you send to legitimate email ID only.

(f) Real companies don’t ask for money or refundable security deposit or service fee

Tips for not falling prey to job scams

* Don’t make personal and sensitive information visible on your social media profiles.

* Never pay money upfront for background checks, admin, or service fees.

* Consultant a lawyer before you sign any online/ legal agreement

* Don’t share any private or personal information until you’re sure it’s a legitimate company.

* If a company is offering you a lot of money for a little work, it most likely is a scam.

* Do not submit original certificates to any company for any job.

* Seek Advice from friends who work in the same companies / study in same universities

Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk to know more about internet ethics and digital wellness brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org


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