Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Stacey Smith

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t read another heartbreaking story about a fraudulent job offer. In some cases, people are out thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it but a fake job offer and dashed hopes.

But the damage isn’t limited to the victims of these scams; the companies these fraudsters pretend to represent are dealing with eroded employer brand trust, the cost of responding to queries from suspicious applicants, and, of course, the time and effort to inform fraud victims they’ve been duped.

In fact, job scam reports nearly doubled in the early part of the pandemic from about 2,400 in 2019 to over 4,400 in 2020. Last year alone, more than 1,800 Canadians lost over $9-million to these schemes.[1]

Job scams typically play out on Instagram or LinkedIn and, less frequently, on job sites such as Indeed. Job postings look legitimate, links take candidates to realistic application sites, and virtual interviews are quickly scheduled. Victims receive a genuine looking offer letter and are then either asked to pay an “application fee” or to send money to cover home office supplies with the promise of reimbursement. In some cases, the scammers also email a fake cheque to the victim and vanish before the cheque bounces.

7 Ways to Fight the Fraud

While there isn’t a lot we can do to prevent the bad guys from impersonating our organizations, we can try to keep up and report the crimes as we see them. Here are some tips for fighting back.

  1. Don’t assume it won’t happen to your organization. Even smaller firms are being impersonated online.
  2. Do your homework. Regularly search for job postings that are not legitimately yours. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and job boards are common places for these scammers to post fake roles.
  3. Follow up on complaints and queries. Suspicious candidates and victims of fraud are likely to spot these scams first. Make sure you have a process to respond to queries about job postings and job offers, and to collect as much information as you can to include in your report to the authorities and the online platforms
  4. Review employee accounts. Regularly check social media for people pretending to be employees of your organization. In larger organizations, you may need to outsource those checks.
  5. Educate employees. Get your employees onside in the fight against fraud. Let them know your organization may be a target and encourage them to keep their eyes open for possible job fraud using your brand.
  6. Report it. If you spot a fake job posting or a fake social media account, report it immediately to the platform and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which may involve the local police.
  7. Go public. While it’s embarrassing to be impersonated by scammers, you can protect your brand and help prevent future fraud by publishing a statement on your website and sharing it periodically on your social media feeds. Here is a sample to get you started. Be sure you get legal advice before you publish any statements.

[Your organization name] is aware that our brand is being used in a fraudulent job offer scam. If you are approached by someone claiming to work for or with [Your organization name], please note that we never ask job applicants or candidates to pay any fees or expenses, and offers of employment are only issued through [insert details here, e.g. secure portals or by registered mail]. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a job posting or you suspect you have been the victim of a fraudulent job offer, please contact [email or phone number].

Like all cybercrime, job fraud is difficult to prevent and convictions are rare. But by building awareness among the public and our employees and by having clear processes to address it, we can reduce its impact to our employer brand and to all Canadians.

HirePower helps organizations build and manage excellent HR and talent acquisition processes. If you would like support for your anti-fraud strategy or any other HR business process, give us call.