I don’t know if things have been the same for you, but I have noticed increasingly random e-mails and social media reach outs regarding open positions. We won’t even focus on some of the others that are related to business or franchise opportunities. Luckily for me, this outreach has been for positions that are so far from what I would be interested in. Due to this lack of even a remote match, I have not had to really explore whether the e-mail was legitimate or fake.

The situation for most is different, as a Job Seeker may expose their personal information, either directly or indirectly, in an attempt to secure new employment. This can especially be true for Job Seekers who are unemployed and, perhaps, have their defenses down a bit due to their desire to be hired.

The television network CNBC recently reported on this increase in online job search scamming. They reported that in the first quarter of 2022 alone, there were a reported 20,700 business and job search frauds. Can you imagine what the “real” number must be as I am sure that most of these fraudulent incidents go unreported, as the job seeker is too embarrassed to say anything.

Staying safe during your online job search does not have to be difficult. Here are some straightforward tips you can follow to keep yourself safe. 

  • Use Caution With E-Mail: Much like with your regular e-mail, use extreme caution with anything that arrives in your inbox from an unknown source. There may be situations, however, where a previously unknown Recruiter reaches out to you based on word-of-mouth or your professional social media. In this situation, I recommend that you do an online search of the person and verify their role (and the company they work for), prior to opening up the e-mail. Finally, like with any e-mail, be very careful opening any links etc. in care of a virus.
  • Do Your Research: This not only applies for any e-mail that you may receive, but also with job postings that catch your eye. If you are unfamiliar with the organization, then research them PRIOR to sending anything, including your resume. Go beyond just checking to see if they have a website or an address. Do an online search with their name and words such as “scam” or “compliant”, to see what they might have been involved with in the past.
  • Separate Your Job Search: Consider creating a job search only e-mail address (a separate phone number is a bit unreasonable), so that only traffic dedicated to your pursuit of new employment is in you Inbox. This way if you do have an issue, then you can close that address without it impacting everything else you have.
  • It Looks Unprofessional: If it looks odd, it probably is. If the note you received is written poorly, has errors, or comes from a generic e-mail domain such as Gmail, then it probably is not legitimate.
  • Too Good Is Probably No Good: Did you ever hear that phrase, “it is too good to be true?” Well, that usually applies to job opportunities also. If a Recruiter is telling you that the position is guaranteed or quoting an outrageous amount of compensation, then you should probably consider it to be a fraud.
  • Don’t Give Money: Recruiters almost always work for the employer and try to bring candidates to them in hopes one of these people are hired and they receive a fee. The fee is paid by the employer and NOT the candidate. A Recruiter asking you for money for a “processing fee” is probably not working in your best interest.
  • No Need for Social Security or Bank Information: No legitimate employer requires you to provide this type of information in the beginning of the recruiting process. Later, once hired, you may have your Social Security card reviewed for I-9 purposes, or for the background check completion. Your bank information may be requested for direct deposit of your paycheck. Not until then should you give out this information.

Unfortunately, for some people with ill intent, Job Seekers serve as the perfect foil for their quest to obtain personal information from other people. These criminals want to prey on those who may have their defenses down and their judgment compromised, so a Job Seeker who needs to find employment fits this profile perfectly. There is, however, a number of things that you can do (or remember NOT to do) in order to stay safe when searching for work. Luckily for you, all you really need to do is focus on your already existing common sense, and you will not only stay safe but find that job you are looking for. To further assist you, all companies advertising with WNYJOBS have been screened and verified.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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