Identity Theft Using Fake Job Postings Results in Billions in Fraudulent Unemployment Payouts

A new study indicates that identity thieves are using fake job ads to steal an estimated $7 billion from American taxpayers, with $800 million coming from the state of New York alone. These scams trick unwary job seekers into applying for a position and then stealing their personally-identifying information. The scammers then use this information to apply for unemployment benefits in their names.

These scams use popular job sites such as Indeed to post these fake job advertisements, and in many cases, these scams are extremely sophisticated and may even involve online interviews and onboarding documentation. This has resulted in many job seekers giving out particularly sensitive information, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers.

Currently, it is estimated that more than 18,000 fake job listings are on the web, and according to Indeed, it removes millions of job listings every month for failing to meet quality guidelines. Another major service that is hosting job postings, LinkedIn, uses automated software to attempt to detect and remove scam postings and claims to constantly invest in new innovative technology to stop scammers.

Showing just how severe the problem is the number of applications for unemployment benefits in New York State in April of last year would indicate that 62% of the population was unemployed. Despite the fact that unemployment for the period was high at 15.5%, this is an incredible contrast.

However, these measures still do not prevent the harm these scams can cause to the victims. This makes it crucial to practice caution and avoid becoming the next victim of a fake job posting. Some ways to identify a fake job posting are:

  • If interviews are not conducted either in-person or using a secure video call.
  • If the supposed employer contacts you through a personal email address or a teleconference application.
  • If the potential employer requires you to pay a fee for background screening or to purchase equipment to perform the job.
  • If the potential employer requests credit card information or sends an employment contract that asks for personally-identifying information.
  • If the posting is on a job board, however, it is not on the employer’s own job listings.
  • If the recruiter posting the job does not have a profile or has a profile that does not match their supposed role.

If a posting appears to have any of these tell-tale signs, then think twice before applying. If you are really interested in the job, then consider checking with the company itself to see if the posting is valid and if so, you can proceed with confidence.

Your personal background check is required for literally everything in your life these days, from employers to rentals. Take control of yours.

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