Hunting for a new job is challenging enough, and now scammers are making it even more difficult by targeting innocent victims searching for employment.
A TikTok recently went viral after a woman named Callie Heim shared her story in hopes of warning others. Heim was applying to jobs on LinkedIn when she received a message that led to a fake job interview process. Watch out for this potential scam if you or someone you know is applying for positions. Look out for these red flags so you don’t fall for it.
What is the latest LinkedIn scam?
Hackers are posing as potential employers and reaching out to job applicants. In a recent case, as experienced by Callie Heim, the scammers sent a message via the networking platform and mentioned how impressed they were with her experience.
Then they began a completely fake, days-long interview process with Heim, asking her to download a “futuristic” software on which they conducted one of her interviews. Since she spoke to multiple “employees” who asked her questions about her skills, Heim believed this was a legitimate job offer.
However, once she received the actual job offer, Heim started to notice the red flags. When her new “company” said they would reimburse her for purchasing a new work computer, phone, and printer, Heim began to look further into the potential of this being a scam.
After researching further, Heim discovered the “futuristic software” she was asked to download is often used for hackers to follow through on scams just like this. Unfortunately, the TikToker had already given away personal information, so she chose to pass on this scary story so you don’t fall for it.
We’ve identified some of the red flags involved with this scam that you should look out for if you’re using LinkedIn or applying to jobs on any third-party website.
4 Red flags to watch out for when applying to jobs
If you’re on the job search, be sure to look out for these red flags when it comes to applying to positions.
Receive a response to an application too quickly
If you apply to a position and you hear back within a day or two from the potential employer, this could be a red flag. While it may end up just being a quick turnaround, employers don’t usually get through their applicants that quickly. If you’re told within a day that they are extremely impressed with your resumé or skills, this may just be bait to get you interested in this fake job.
You’re told to download an app or software to apply
If you’re asked to download software (other than commonly used programs these days like Zoom or Skype for a video interview) to conduct an interview or communicate with the employer, this is a huge red flag. The app the TikToker who fell victim to this scam used is called Wire, and their website explicitly states the app is often used for job search scams.
Outside of Zoom or Google Meet, recruiters will rarely require you to download additional software to conduct an interview.
Job offer comes too quickly
This is a red flag just like if you receive a response to a job application too fast. If you get offered a job with an ideal salary immediately after you apply, you may be getting scammed. The hackers don’t want to lose you to a real potential employer, so they want you to be excited about joining the company so quickly.
You’re asked to buy equipment for work
If your new employer tells you to buy a computer, phone, printer, or another piece of equipment and promises to reimburse you, this is the biggest red flag of all. Even if they offer to mail you a check and you think you’re purchasing the equipment using work funds, the check is going to bounce and you’ll be fully responsible for this amount of money.
In the case of our TikToker, she was asked to buy the products through their portal and told they had already sent her a check for the total amount.
What to do if you fall for a job application scam
If a fake “recruiter” fools you, be sure to protect your personal information and report the scam.
- If you’re not sure if you’re being scammed or not, look up the actual company’s HR contact. Contact them directly and inquire if they are really hiring candidates for the job you’re applying for
- If you gave any information (including a copy of your ID, your social security number, etc) be sure to freeze your bank accounts and credit so you don’t also fall victim to identity theft
- Research any software, like Wire, before you’re asked to download it
- Report the scam to the actual hiring company
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