The Better Business Bureau is warning job seekers of LinkedIn posers and red flags.
One way to learn about new job opportunities and develop relationships with potential employers is through the social media channel LinkedIn, a tool for job searching. Many job seekers use LinkedIn to market themselves to potential employers, and Better Business Bureau officials say scammers also are finding ways to exploit the site by posing as recruiters.
LinkedIn appeals to job seekers because it allows them to present their experience and professional positions, as well as, be contacted by potential employers or recruiters. However, scammers are known to create fake profiles to disguise themselves as recruiters. They will send messages that include a link to a site that requires personal information. These kinds of websites may look legitimate, but often they ask for financial and personal information, such as Social Security numbers. Scammers are able to use that information and can later steal a person's identity, access bank accounts or install malware on a person's computer.
To avoid becoming a victim of a LinkedIn imposter:
Do not add just anyone on LinkedIn. Before connecting with or adding someone, check out their profile and connections. Do you have a connection to someone you actually know? If no, consider using your network for more information. Don't add those whose identity can't be verified and have doubts about their legitimacy, do not add them.
Remember that job seekers will never be asked to pay for a legitimate job. If a 'recruiter' mentions an opportunity where a person must pay for training it is a good idea to block them. A real employer will never ask someone to pay to work.
Always be wary of work-at-home jobs. Real work-at-home jobs are scarce, so be cautious when about such postings. Be sure to check their references and talk to former employees.
Search for the recruiter's picture. Scammers often use a fake, generic photo and the photo can most likely be found elsewhere. A good place to review pictures is Google images.
Insist on calling recruiters. If a recruiter uses a message as a form of contact, verify their identity before responding. If needed, request to speak on the phone. If they seem to avoid a phone call or won't give out their number, consider that a red flag.
More red flags to avoid when conducting your job search:
Work-at-Home Offers. BBB considers most work-at-home opportunities suspect so proceed with caution. Research the company completely and check them out at bbb.org before considering.
Email claims. After creating a user account, job hunters might receive an email saying there's a problem with their account or they need to follow a hyperlink to install new software. Phishing e-mails like this are designed to convince readers to click a link within the message to fix the issue, but actually take them to a website that will install malware or viruses on their computer.
Paying money upfront. Aside from paying for a uniform, it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees or make a purchase to get a job. If a job seeker is asked to pay for training, supplies, a background check, or other get-started items, they should walk away. Most fees will end up in the scam artist's pocket and the job seeker never hears from the company again.
Those who find themselves a victim of a scam should act quickly. If a scammer was able to access a person's computer, they could have collected personal information including passwords and banking information. Change passwords immediately and quickly notify the bank if any strange banking activity is noticed.