Recent global events have made working remotely more popular, and unfortunately, fraudsters and scammers have been exploiting this fact now more than ever. Below you'll find information that provides some easy tools that will help you understand when you're at risk and what to do about it.
What to look out for
- You're required to pay to get the job: Whatever the reason, you should not have to pay your employer to work for them.
- You did not apply for the job and they reached out to you: Any unsolicited message from an individual that you do not know personally should raise suspicion.
- The company does not have a digital footprint: If you can't find any information on your employer online via Google, LinkedIn, or if the information provided looks unprofessional, be wary.
- The position requires use of your personal bank account: If you're given tasks that involve your personal finances or bank account, don't take the job. No legitimate employer will request this from you. Be wary as well if you are required to open up a bank account for that business or individual.
- The position requires you to disperse money through different mediums: If you are being sent large sums and asked to disperse them by purchasing cryptocurrencies or other means, you may be putting yourself at risk of being investigated for money laundering.
Protect yourself by
- Asking questions during the interview about the company and position that require detailed answers. Make absolute sure that you know what the full scope of your responsibilities will be and leave no stone unturned.
- Not giving out personal information such as card details, your social security number, or any other sensitive data.
- Not sending money to an employer or potential employer.
- Keeping in mind that even though a job may be listed on a legitimate job search engine, that doesn't mean it's a real job.
- Researching the company and/or individual. Make sure to get an actual address and verify it online.
- Demanding a signed contract.
- Not shying away from asking your employer for references and taking the time to check them.
Common schemes include but are not limited to
- Payment scams: If a potential employer requires you to pay them for any reason, don't. Whether it be for a credit/background check, fees of any kind, for training, certification, or a starter kit, it's likely a scam.
- Payment processing/ transferring funds scams: There are two scenarios here - if funds are sent to you so that you can purchase cryptocurrency and send it to a wallet address, this is money laundering (see below), and could result in you being the subject of a federal investigation. In the other instance, your own personal funds are involved. The scammer or fraudster may tell you that your payment is on the way, or you may even already have a check in-had, but a few days after cashing it, your bank calls and informs you that it's fraudulent.