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Know Your Scam: Job Scams to Watch Out For

2023-03-10

Main Takeaways

  • Job scams are on the rise. Be wary of lucrative job offers that sound too good to be true.

  • Fraudulent job listings typically have three common attributes: high salary offered, flexible work arrangements, and minimal work experience required. 

  • Report any scam targeting you to relevant authorities, change compromised passwords, and freeze any accounts if you’ve already transferred money. 

Employment scams are on the rise. Protect yourself from scammers by learning how to identify and report fake job postings. Read more in the latest installment of the Know Your Scam series!

Although job scams have existed for a long time, they’ve recently seen an uptick due to the pandemic’s profound and lasting effects on the job market. Fake job listings offer flexible schedules, the chance to work from home, and salaries well above industry standards — all while requiring little to no skills or prior work experience. 

Don’t be fooled by the unrealistic promises — no job comes this easy, nor is this perfect. Most likely, people offering the “dream job” will at some point ask you to deposit your own money before you can reap the announced benefits – only to disappear with your funds.

Keep reading to see our breakdown of how employment scams tend to unfold, including the four-step process scammers often utilize and a real-life example we’ve recreated. 

Fake Recruiters’ Four-Step Process

Find

Employment scammers typically reach out to potential targets via messaging apps, social media, or professional networking sites. The job advertisement or direct offer often has three common features: attractive salary, short or flexible working hours, and no professional skills or experience needed.

The “work” might entail straightforward tasks like making hotel reservations, posting fake reviews, or liking products on an e-commerce platform.

Gain Trust

Once a person responds to the job posting, the scammer will respond with the details of the job — much like how an actual recruiter would. It’s essential at this stage for soon-to-be victims to pay close attention to how the “HR” is describing the job. 

For example, the scammer may introduce a platform where the victim needs to sign up and complete tasks. In some cases, the platform can also feature VIP tiers that, upon reaching, come with higher wages, commissions, and rewards for inviting people to join. Advanced scammers will go a step further to “legitimize” the scam by providing falsified company registration documents. 

To gain the victim’s trust, the scammer can even pay the victim a small amount of money for completing a few simple tasks. However, this payment is simply bait needed to lull the victim into a false sense of legitimacy of the arrangement. 

Induce

At some point, the scammer will ask the victim to deposit funds under some sort of pretense related to their “employment” relationship. For example, a payment could be required to reach a higher VIP level on the platform, which comes with additional rewards. The scammer may even attempt to goad the victim into recruiting their friends and family, further amplifying the damage.

Close

During the final step, the victim will suddenly face issues with receiving pay. The scammer will devise various excuses, such as missing tax payments or requiring a minimum withdrawal fee, to coax the victim into depositing even more funds. 

Eventually, after the victim starts to catch on or has lost a significant amount of money, the scammer will shut down the platform and become uncontactable. 

See an Example in Action

The user, who we’ll call Mark, was approached by a recruiter via WhatsApp. 

The recruiter tells Mark a digital marketing company based in London is offering part-time work with a high salary (~1000 USDT weekly) that is paid via an encrypted wallet. 

The recruiter adds that the job requires minimal skill, provides flexible arrangements, and only requires Mark to have a working phone with mobile data. 

Mark, attracted by the job description, follows the recruiter's instructions and registers an account on their platform. The recruiter informs Mark that he has to deposit 500 USDT to receive the first 40 tasks, which Mark does. Upon completing the tasks, Mark discovers he can’t withdraw his money from the platform. The scammer then demands Mark pay an additional 1000 USDT to receive his initial deposit back.

Mark realizes the “job” is a scam, but it’s already too late. 

To summarize, here are the biggest red flags from this encounter: 

  • The scammer makes initial contact with Mark through an informal channel like WhatsApp.

  • The “work” offered sounds easy and requires no professional skills or experience. 

  • The flexible working arrangements allow Mark to work from anywhere he desires. 

  • The salary is exorbitantly high (100-300 USDT daily) for such an insignificant effort. 

How to Protect Yourself From Employment Scams

Do your research (DYOR)

Ensure that the email address you’re in contact with belongs to a real company. Scammers tend to use free email services like Gmail, Hotmail, or Outlook. Some may use Telegram, Instagram, or Whatsapp, all of which can be viewed as less “formal’ communication channels and are not commonly used by real recruiters. 

Next, research the “company” and its website. If the website has a poor interface and requires you to sign up to learn more, don’t click anything and steer clear. 

Beware of unrealistic job offers

Think twice about job offers that are too good to be true. Job offers that promise some combination of easy work, quick money, and an unreasonable level of flexibility are unrealistic and likely a scam. 

Pay attention to jobs that require deposits

Employees should never pay job-related expenses out of their pocket, especially through an anonymous and irreversible crypto transaction. No legitimate company will charge you for any reason. 

If a “recruiter” asks for a deposit fee in exchange for your salary — don’t do it. Job scammers use this textbook method to manipulate victims into parting with their money. 

Pay attention to the information requested from you

Be extra careful about any personal information that you’re requested to provide, such as your driver’s license, passport, or social security number, during an “interview.” A recruiter asking for such sensitive information early in the interview process must trigger your inner scam detector.

Beware of jobs with no prerequisites

Proper jobs, especially ones with high pay, will come with prerequisites. 

If the job offer doesn’t require an interview, your resume, or demonstrated relevant experience, with the recruiter pushing you to accept the job immediately followed by a quick onboarding, this is likely a fake job offer.

If You’ve Been Scammed

Falling victim to a scam is devastating, but the damage may be far from over if you don’t act quickly. 

File a report to your local authorities, block the scammer’s contact, and change your phone number if possible. If you’ve already sent money, freeze your financial accounts and change the passwords immediately. 

If you transacted with a scammer via your Binance account or believe the account is now compromised, file a report to our Support Center immediately. 

Further Reading

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