Whenever the economy threatens to take a dip, scammers love to bring back the good old employment scams. BBB Scam Tracker has gotten multiple reports of a new job scam twist that involves downloading a messaging app.
You receive a message from someone interested in hiring you. It might come through email, text, or even a social media platform. At first, this “recruiter” seems professional. They claim to have seen your resume on a job search site and want to interview you for a position. But first, you need to download a messaging app, such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal.
Once you download the app, the “recruiter” will ask you to complete a few interview questions. After giving you enthusiastic feedback, they will offer you a position with their company. That is followed by an official-looking contract to fill out and sign. After you sign, the scammer will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and banking information, claiming they need to add you to direct deposit payroll and other company systems. Some versions of this scam don’t end there. As a new hire, you are referred to a “training manager” who will help you set up your home office. This person sends you a check to buy a laptop and other supplies. After depositing the check, your contact will say that you were overpaid and need to return a portion of what you deposited. Or they explain that you need to buy special equipment from a particular vendor, and to send some of that money to the official vendor in a different city. They instruct you to deposit the check, then send the “overpayment” money to a different address. But the check is always fake, and any funds you send to your new employer or that “official vendor” will be long gone. You will end up paying back the bank from your own savings.
Research job offers first. Visit a company’s website and look up their contact information. Verify the company exists and the job posting is real before you interact with a stranger. Do an internet search with the company’s name and the word “scam” to see if anyone has reported a fake job offer. Look on BBB.org to see any unresolved complaints or negative reviews.
Beware of jobs that involve receiving and returning money. Legitimate companies don’t send checks to new employees before work is done. They certainly don’t ask you to return funds that you’ve already been paid.
Be careful with your personal information. Never provide anyone with your personal information until you are sure you can trust them with it. Do all the necessary research before divulging anything personal. Never let someone pressure you into giving up your personal information because it’s a “now or never” offer.
Watch out for easy hires. If a company claims they want to hire you without meeting you either virtually or in-person, and if they don’t conduct a job interview, you’re dealing with a scammer.