Scammers exploit Linkedin by impersonating big companies 

In a concerning incident, a fraudulent recruiter posing as a representative from a prominent bank reached out to a job seeker. 

Nonso Onowu on December 18, 2023 Average reading time: 3 min
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Scammers exploit Linkedin by impersonating big companies 

Promising a lucrative position, the fake recruiter demanded an initial payment for “training materials” before the job begins. Despite complying and making the payment, the job seeker received no further communication. Upon investigation, it became clear that the bank had no record of the job offer or the recruiter, leaving the job seeker as a victim of a well planned job scam. 

Scammers now impersonate big companies: With the continuous advancement in social media and technology, job hunting has moved to online platforms, with LinkedIn and various job portals serving as the go-to destinations for both job seekers and recruiters.

While these platforms offer great opportunities, they have also become a fertile ground for scammers who prey on unsuspecting individuals.

One particularly tricky tactic used by these scammers is impersonating respectable companies to recruit for fake jobs.  

Deceptive beginnings: Unmasking impersonation scams 

The scam often starts when you receive what appears to be a genuine message, supposedly from a “recruiter.” They confidently state that your skills are an excellent fit for their company’s needs. To move things forward, they swiftly send you an official-looking invitation for a virtual interview.

Along with this invitation, they provide a detailed guide that explains what your job would involve and the benefits you could expect. 

However, it’s essential to note that scammers often attempt to steer your conversation away from LinkedIn into a private chat or email. They might do this to avoid detection on the platform and continue their deceptive practices discreetly. This is the moment when it’s crucial to be cautious and consider the authenticity of the communication to protect yourself from potential harm or deception. 

Recognizing the clear warning signals: How to identify impersonation scams 

Recognizing and protecting yourself against impersonation scams is essential in today’s online community. LinkedIn’s Scam Recognition and Reporting Guide offer valuable insights into identifying and reporting these fraudulent activities. Below are key tips to help you spot impersonation scams on the platform: 

Examine the email source:

Scrutinize the sender’s email address closely. Reputable companies exclusively employ official corporate email addresses for communication, never resorting to personal accounts. Should you find yourself receiving messages from a non-corporate email address, consider it a glaring red flag. 

The plea for payment:

Once these scammers have successfully lured you in, their tactics turns quickly towards your finances and confidential data. They might dispatch a forged invoice for equipment like a computer, and instruct you to remit payment in cash, via Zelle, or using PayPal, all while promising prompt reimbursement.  

Regrettably, this assurance of reimbursement is nothing more than an illusion. Reputable employers, as emphasized by a consumer alert from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding impersonation scams on LinkedIn, do not require upfront fees for employment or equipment.

Furthermore, they strongly discourage the use of cash, Zelle, or PayPal for any transactions related to employment.

The FTC highlights that encountering such requests should be viewed as a clear and unmistakable indication of a potential scam, similar to a neon sign spelling out “SCAM.” 

Requesting your personal information:

Alternatively, these fraudsters may make a demand for sensitive personal details, such as your driver’s license number, Social Security digits, or bank account particulars, hiding under the deciet of “employment paperwork.” Some may even withhold responses to your job-related inquiries until you accept their terms. Be forewarned; sharing such information could set the stage for identity theft. 

Building your shield of awareness: Defending against impersonation scams 

Defending yourself against these scams depends on vigilance and awareness, according to Norton’s report on online scams, a trusted source for cybersecurity insights in safeguarding against these deceptive schemes.  

To shield yourself from potential harm, taking certain precautions before divulging personal information is vital.

Firstly, confirming the legitimacy of the company is crucial. You can achieve this by directly contacting them through a known phone number or visiting their official website to authenticate the job offer. Additionally, conducting comprehensive research becomes pivotal when uncertainty arises regarding the job’s authenticity. Scammers tend to exploit individuals who overlook this essential step, making thorough investigation paramount for safeguarding against potential scams. 

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