As job seekers try to navigate wide and unrealistic salary bands, they also have to contend with scammers. Some are posing as recruiters and hiring managers, holding interviews, making offers, and onboarding people for jobs that don’t actually exist. Wall Street Journal Reporter Imani Moise covers personal economics and recently wrote about the situation.
Mainly tech workers are being targeted right now, Moise tells KCRW, but everyone is vulnerable. That’s because they’re following headlines and watching employment trends.
“The tech industry is a prime target for the scammers because they have high salaries that they could use to lure people in. It's easy to disguise yourself as a little-known startup that someone may have not heard of before. And also, there's a lot of people looking to break into the tech industry right now. So they have a lot of potential victims.”
Moise points to new data from the Federal Trade Commission — the number of people reporting job-related scams have tripled to over 100,000. Of those, a third reported losing more than $200 million.
She adds that the trend of working virtually during the pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
“If you had gotten an email request for an interview in 2018 saying, ‘Hey, we're going to do this interview only virtually’ — you're never going to see another person and this is for a remote-only job — you can probably brush that off as fake right away. But as everyone's gotten used to working online, working remotely, and recruiting online, it's easier for these guys to blend in.”
Big employment sites like ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn are working to combat the scams through internal artificial intelligence systems, but it doesn’t always work.
“They are taking listings down once they're reported, but it's really like Whack-a-Mole. Scams have existed for as long as money has existed. So whatever system you put [in] to try to stop them, they'll find a way around it.”