If you recently found yourself looking for a new job, you are far from alone. According to the Institute of Labor Economics, more Canadians were seeking new employment opportunities at the height of the pandemic than during the previous three recessions combined. Job hunters only used to have to worry about the clarity of their cover letters and impressing interviewers. Now, however, a new hurdle is in the mix in the race for a new job: online job scams.
Here are three online job scams that you may encounter, plus a few tips on how to avoid and report them.
1. Fake Job Ads
Fake job ads trick employment seekers into giving up their financial information. Fake job ads are more likely to appear on free sites, such as Craigslist, but they could be listed anywhere. So, no matter where you are searching, be wary that not everyone is looking for a talented individual such as yourself. They are on the hunt for sensitive personal details.
When you are interviewing for jobs, legitimate employers are careful and intentioned about evaluating your fit for the job. For this reason, employers want to make sure they are not interviewing fake candidates, so they are likely going to want to meet you face-to-face or through a video chat. If an employer extends a job offer after a few email exchanges or an instant messenger job interview, request a more formal meeting. If they say that they would like to move fast and hire quickly, be concerned as no real employer would act that quickly.
Guard your personal and financial information until you are 100% sure of the legitimacy of a job offer. Be on high alert if the “human resources representative” asks for your credit card or banking information to pay for training. Fake employers may also ask for your Social Insurance Number before extending a job offer letter. A great rule of thumb is to never share your SIN with anyone over the phone or over email.
2. Phishing Emails
Between March and September 2020, 34% of Canadian respondents reported receiving a phishing message, according to a survey by Statistics Canada. Phishing emails often include malicious links that, when clicked, download malware to your device. Online job scams may not only attempt to steal your sensitive information, but they may also be phishing attempts to take over your personal devices.
Some scammers using job offers as a guise might email people who never applied for a new opportunity. Be careful around these types of messages, urges the University of Calgary. Recruiters will most likely reach out and offer unsolicited interviews through social networking channels rather than email. Also, when you receive emails from people looking to hire you, take note of their email domain name. Is the email domain customized to the company’s name or is it a generic @gmail or @yahoo? Check the spelling of the email domain carefully too. Phishers are notoriously bad spellers and sometimes they use incorrect spelling of domain names to trick people into thinking they are the real company.
3. Immigration Scams
Immigrating anywhere is a massive and stressful undertaking. Cybercriminals prey upon this stressful, major life event and target immigrants with enticing, but fake, job offers. The Government of Canada advises to never trust someone who says they can guarantee you a job in Canada. Also, keep an eye on the salary. Is it very high? Do your skills not completely align with the job description? Does the job seem very easy? Unfortunately, that may mean that the offer is too good to be true.
How to Cover Your Bases
The best way to avoid falling for job scams is to know what you are looking for and to take your time when considering a new job. Check out these tips to outsmart scammers and keep your personal information and devices safe.
1. Verify employers
Most job applications are submitted online, but if an employer is impressed by your resume, they will likely offer a screening call. When a human resources representative calls, make sure to note their name and ask for the website address of the company. Afterwards, search for the company online and the human resources representative who called you. They should show up together on a professional-looking website or a professional networking site.
2. Read carefully
Inspect all correspondences you get from potential employers. Phishers often use language that inspires strong emotions and urges a speedy response. Strong emotions could include excitement or fear. If the email says you only have a few hours to respond or else the job will go to someone else, be skeptical. Accepting a job is a huge decision that you should be able to take at least a few days to think about. Read carefully, always hover over links to see where they redirect, and keep a level head when making decisions about your next career move.
3. Report fraudulent activity
When you come across fraudulent activity, it is important that you report it to the correct authorities to stop it from happening to someone else. For immigration and online job scams, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
4. Install security tools
Phishers and job scammers may have gotten in contact with you with the aim of downloading malicious software on your computer. A comprehensive suite of security tools will protect you from viruses and malware that may have slipped past your eagle eye. McAfee Total Protection offers premium antivirus software, safe web browsing, and PC optimization.
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