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BBB warns job seekers of LinkedIn posers and red flags

by jmaloni


Wed, Jan 15th 2014 01:35 pm

Looking for a new job? Many people use the start of a new year as motivation to secure their dream position. Are you one of them? If the answer is yes, BBB serving upstate New York has some job-seeking advice.

One way to learn about new job opportunities and develop relationships with potential employers is through the social media channel LinkedIn. This is a very useful tool for job searching, but with many job seekers using LinkedIn to market themselves to potential employers, scammers also are finding ways to exploit the site by posing as recruiters.

It's well known LinkedIn appeals to jobseekers, 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 your identity, access bank accounts or install malware on your computer.

BBB offers advice 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. If you can't verify information and have doubts about their legitimacy, do not add them.

Remember that you will never be asked to pay for a legitimate job. If a "recruiter" mentions an opportunity where you must pay for training, it is a good idea to block them. A real employer will never ask you to pay to work.

Always be wary of work-at-home jobs. Real work-at-home jobs are scarce, so be cautious when you find these 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 you can most likely find the photo elsewhere. A good place to review pictures is Google images.

Insist on you calling them. If a recruiter contacts you via message, verify their identity before responding. If needed, request to speak on the phone. If they seem to avoid your phone call or won't give you 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 it 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 emails 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 you're asked to pay for training, supplies, a background check, or other get-started items - walk away. Most fees will end up in the scam artist's pocket and the job seeker never hears from the company again.

•If you find yourself a victim of the scam, act fast. If a scammer was able to access your computer, they could have collected your personal information, including passwords and banking information. Change your passwords immediately. If you see any strange banking activity, notify your bank. 

For more BBB information you can trust, visit bbb.org and "Like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BetterBusinessBureauofUpstateNY.

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for business reviews on more than 4.5 million companies, and charity reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the U.S. and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation. Visit bbb.org for more information.

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