While many legitimate companies use video calling services like Skype and Google Hangout to hold cost-effective and convenient interviews for job applicants, a number of scammers use this same technology to hook job hunters in scams.
Due to the potential danger to people targeted by this scam, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has issued an alert about the risk of these “job interviews” that could allow scammers to phish for personal information and finances.
Signs of a Scam
Some warning sings to look out for include:
- Lack of preparation time or on-the-spot interviews before the online call. Take care if your potential interviewer requests an immediate interview without previously reaching out to you. Most legitimate interviews include information about the interviewer or interviewers and a set interview time to ensure a smooth process.
- Requests for additional information like bank account numbers, credit card details and your Social Security number (SSN). These types of requests during job interviews are considered red flags by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While some employers are allowed to ask for SSNs on job applications in certain states, banking information is typically only necessary after you are hired in order to set up direct deposit for your paychecks.
- Requesting payment. Asking a potential employee to pay for the promise of employment is advised against by the FTC.
- Requests to download files or documents. Always be wary when anyone you don’t know well asks you to download anything. These files may contain malware and other types of harmful software that can provide sensitive information to people looking to exploit you.
How to Protect Yourself from Potential Scams
There are a few actions you can take to protect yourself from scammers:
- Don’t accept interview offers for jobs you did not apply for.
- Reach out to the human resources department of the company offering to hold an online interview to make sure that it follows company policy.
- Verify that the person who will interview you is in fact employed by the company and not someone posing as an employee.
- Research the company and recruiter or staff member online before your interview.
- End the call If you are asked to provide financial or personal information like bank account numbers or your SSN, or if you are asked to pay an unexpected fee.
- Trust your gut – if at any point during the process you begin to feel uncomfortable or suspicious ask any questions you need to or simply end the call.
If you were the victim of a scam, you may be able to pursue legal action to secure compensation for your losses. At Meyer Wilson, our fraud attorneys have dedicated their careers to providing our clients with the experienced and passionate representation they require in their time of need. Give us a call at one of our offices to speak with a member of our firm today, or send us your information through our online form to start out with a free case consultation.