LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and, as such, has long been attractive to scammers seeking to piggy-back on the sites good reputation. Recently the number of job scams being found on LinkedIn has increased dramatically. A recent development is scammers using the name of legitimate companies that are hiring and approaching their victims through LinkedIn’s direct messaging feature. They then create counterfeit websites that look like the websites of the legitimate companies they are posing as and ask the job seekers for personal information as part of the hiring process before holding a job interview by Skype. The personal information which may include the job seeker’s Social Security number is used for purposes of identity theft. They also may ask for money or your credit card number to pay for background investigations or equipment for the company which legitimate businesses do not do. In other instances, the job seeker is required to pay for equipment or training which the scammer promises to reimburse, but, of course, the money is never paid back. Making the problem even worse is the use of AI to make the photos and websites even more legitimate appearing.
Although LinkedIn, Indeed and other websites that carry job postings try to identify and either prevent or remove phony ads from appearing on their websites, you cannot depend on these companies to fully protect you. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Certainly a little skepticism helps when you see a job posting for a job that sounds too good to be true. Ads that ask for you to pay upfront costs for any reason should be considered to be a scam as well as any company that requests your credit card information for any reason whatsoever.
To check on the legitimacy of photographs in these ads you can do a reverse image search using Google or websites such as tineye.com. You can also check to see if the wording of the advertisement has been used elsewhere by merely copying a substantial amount of the text into your search engine and see what comes up. Also, research the company itself to determine if it is a legitimate company. Check out the website of the company supposedly offering you a job to see if the legitimate company is offering such a job. Make sure you are using a domain name that you have confirmed is legitimate and not just the one contained in the email sent to you by the scammer. If the job doesn’t appear on the real company’s website, you know it is a scam. It also is a good idea to confirm any job offer you might receive with the HR department of the real company before providing personal information such as your Social Security number.
You also can use the website whois.com to compare the URL of the company that is hiring to see if it really is legitimate. Whois.com will tell you who actually owns the website and how long it has been active. In the case of a scammer’s website, the website may be owned by an entity unrelated to the company and often has only recently been created.
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