January 28th 2014
An increasing number of working people are using professional social media network LinkedIn to post their resumes and network while searching for jobs that fit their criteria. Many do so sucessfully, but it has also become a fertile hunting ground for scammers posing as recruiters or potential employers in order to defraud unsuspecting applicants.
LinkedIn provides the ability to search and be searched for at the same time, a feature which fraudsters exploit by creating fake profiles and attempting to recruit vulnerable job seekers. They will send messages regarding a potential position which include a link, which if clicked on redirects the victim to a page that appears authentic but requests personal information such as National Insurance number, birth date and banking and other financial information. This information can be used for identity theft, accessing victims' bank accounts and installing malware on their devices.
Our advice for LinkedIn users
In the event that you are contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn, carry out some simple research before going any further. Confirm the recruiter's authenticity by seeing if they have a physical address and an official company website. Spelling and grammatical errors are another indication that they may not be genuine.
– Do not randomly add or connect with anyone on LinkedIn before you have checked their profile and connections. If you have doubts, do not add them.
· Search for the recruiter's picture. Scammers often use a fake, generic photo and if this is the case you can probably find it elsewhere, for example by searching Google Images.
· Insist on being able to call the recruiter by phone. If they avoid your call or won't give you their number, it's probably a scam.
– A genuine employer or recruiter will never ask you to pay up front for employment, training or CV preparation. So don't be tempted, however desperate you are to find work.
· Be wary of work-at-home jobs. Genuine opportunities like this are scarce, so always check their references and talk to former employees.
· If you find yourself a victim of the scam, act quickly. If the scammer was able to access your computer, they may have been able to collected your personal information including passwords and banking information. Change your passwords immediately and if you see any unrecognised or irregular banking activity, notify your bank.
– You should also report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visitng www.actionfraud.police.uk