Hackers. Scammers. Phishing Attacks. In the internet age, no one is immune. While the topic is certainly not a fun one, many job searchers are not aware of new tactics being used by identity thieves that are taking place in the form of online recruiting. Fake job listings, phishing emails, scam phone calls, and it is up to us all to be sure that we are making smart decisions when offering up our personal information. 

The most standard operating procedure for hackers is the ‘bait and switch’ in which legitimate looking job applications redirect applicants to nefarious websites, which can range from selling useless products to asking for resumes or online “applications” – requesting personal information that is valuable on the open market. Think social security numbers, addresses, and past employer data. Scammers have also been known to ask for application fees to get your resume to the right people fast. 

And while it is true – more and more jobs are being dealt with online, especially in the time of COVID, most are indeed legitimate, and it is often possible to tell the fakes just by paying attention. Many people cannot remember the last time they sent a resume by snail mail, so it is a trend we certainly need to embrace. When searching online, it is important to use popular job sites like Monster, Indeed, or the jobs pages of recruiters you trust. 

The general rule of thumb? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It is the number one red flag: Make $10,000 a day.  Get rich working from home. I made $2000 just by surfing the web! You know exactly what we are talking about. While not all are quite so obvious, it’s generally the ones that don’t offer up good pay for hard work that are the problem. 

So, what else can you as a job applicant do to avoid falling prey? Here are some precautions you can take to be sure you are not getting played. 

Do…take a moment to validate that the job is real. Pick up the phone and call the company or the recruiting agency and inquire about the job. Just ask if there are any more details than what is posted online, and use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself with the lead recruiter. 

Don’t…fill out online forms containing sensitive employment information, blindly. Be selective with whom you provide your resume to and when in doubt, choose a different route. 

Do…Make sure any websites or email addresses you encounter point to the correct domain. For example, if you are applying to Coca-Cola and the recruiter’s email is ‘letsparty@ziggystardust.com’… that’s a problem. “Hover” over any text links and review the web page they are pointing to before you click on them. Try it here. 

Do…install and maintain anti-virus and anti-malware protections on your computer at all timesSophos, Microsoft, and Malwarebytes all provide free tools to minimize system compromise and thwart malware. Always remember, these tools are not infallible. The best line of defense is a sound offense. Got a mac? A DroidSophos has you covered. 

Don’t….ever….click links in emails from people you do not recognize. Look closely at the ‘from’ address and be sure it is a company name you know. When in doubt, throw it out. If the job is a direct hit with your experience that really got you excited, go to the employer/recruiter website, look for the job opening, and apply directly, or pick up the phone and double check. 

Finally, make it a practice only to use local or reputable recruiting firms and get to know a recruiter or two on a first name basis. Masiello Employment has been a major partner of businesses across the region for decades, and our strong relationships matter. While we cannot stop hackers, we can be a local, value-added resource for all your job searching needs and help steer you to legitimate jobs in your skillset. It is what we do, it is what we are good at, and we have been doing it locally for decades.