In my last article, “How to Avoid Job Scams Online, Don’t Be Fooled!“ I looked deeply into how cybercriminals are flooding the internet with fake job ads, even setting up phony company hiring websites, and posing as legitimate recruiters, all to steal your identity and use it to commit fraud.
Today, in this article, we take a different path, the cell phone and instant messenger apps, and discuss how to detect Fake Job Text Messages and how to protect yourself against identity, financial theft, and fraud.
As always, you should thoroughly investigate potential employers closely, as they will target our demographic (older workers over 50), especially if you are out of work, making you more open to taking a risk in hopes of a high-paying job.
How Can You Tell a Fake Job Offer?
Scammers are becoming so bright and are beginning to use more advanced tactics to appear legitimate. Scammers use a ‘fake maker’ to construct an authentic presence to imitate real people trying to reach you.
These scammers create fake company websites or clone real ones, counterfeit banks with websites, and official-looking employment-type documents like standard tax forms (such as a 1099 or W-9), personal information forms (used to steal your passwords and other sensitive information), and banking deposit information forms (used to steal your bank account user id’s and passwords).
Here is how a typical text scam works:
- You post your resume (most resumes contain your contact phone numbers) on reputable job websites like (LinkedIn, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Facebook, Indeed, Craigslist, or other career and job sites), or answer a scammer’s ad that they created about a job posting on such a site.
- The scammer sends you a professional-looking text (they are very friendly, polite, and professional) with a job offer and initiates an online interview through email, video chat, or text message. Most often through the following apps: Google Hangouts, Telegram App, texting apps (TextFree app, TextNow app), and WhatsApp.
- Shortly after the interview, they award you the job opportunity and provide several employment documents to receive your personal and banking information. They will ask for the following information so that they can “hire you”:
- Your driver’s license
- Bank account numbers and account information (such as passwords)
- Your social security number (sometimes they will even ask for a copy)
- Your home address and phone numbers in which they can contact you
- You are then ‘hired’ in a probationary capacity where you have to prove that you are reliable and suitable for the job. This includes agreeing to message the scammer a detailed work log of all your day’s tasks and whereabouts.
- They tell you that you will use your bank accounts to manage financial transactions until you are no longer in training. It is simply a security risk for their company to give you access to their financial accounts early on.
- Money is transferred to you through e-transfers, or a fraudulent business check or bank draft is delivered to your home. This money is for “expensive equipment and supplies” for yourself or a client. You are asked to deposit the funds immediately and send it to the “client.””
These scams can take on many variations; anyone can fall victim to these scams – and today, they are compelling.
Professional scammers do this for a living and have many people helping them build elaborate scams. They take legitimate company and employee names associated with the business and incorporate them into their scheme. Once the scammers disappear with their hard-earned money, victims often turn to the company used in the scam only to find out that that company was never involved in the fake job offer.
What Are the Signs of a Fake Job Posting?
Scammers are almost impossible to stop since it is so easy to impersonate legitimate businesses or employees because images, logos, and people’s information are on the internet and can easily be downloaded or copied and used to commit fraud.
What to look for to determine if a job is a scam
- The recruiter contacts you via text (most reputable companies and recruiters will NOT send you a text as their first point of contact blindly)
- You receive a job offer right away – with a fast and simple straightforward interview, which is handled via texting and no direct contact
- The schedule seems too flexible – work from home, you can make your own schedule, etc.
- Job requirements and descriptions are vague, and the pay is high
Online job and social media sites are well aware of these scams and are continually working hard to identify, remove, and block these fraudulent profiles and job postings. Phone companies can help by blocking these numbers, but scammers can autodial faster than they can be blocked.
How do I stop getting fake text messages?
To block these phony text messages on an Android:
- Press the three-dot icon at the top right corner of your screen.
- Select “Block Number” or “Details,” then “Block & Report Spam” (depending on your specific device)
- Tap “Block & Report Spam.”
- Select “O.K.”
To block these fake text messages on an Apple.
- Go to Settings > Messages.
- Turn on the switch for Filter Unknown Senders. The top US mobile carriers offer their own filtering and blocking tools for subscribers.
- For the most part, they’re geared more toward spam phone calls, but they can also block numbers that attempt to deliver spam text messages.
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Conclusion – And A Special Note
To protect yourself, if you should get a fake text message, it’s important not to respond or click any of the links.
If you do, it allows the scammer to verify that your number is active. Then shortly after that, you will most likely get more spam text messages.
You can always download an app such as Nomorobo or RoboKiller. Still, nowadays, however, today most phones have the technology to help manage spam texts.
Authorities and phone companies are taking strong measures to crack down on these spam texts. However, the best way to ensure and protect yourself is still to immediately block and report any number that sends you a spam text and NEVER RESPOND!
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