A Surge in Online Job Scams Targets Unsuspecting Job Seekers for Personal Information

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has reported a notable increase in online job scams aimed at extracting personal information from individuals looking for employment opportunities. The ITRC assisted 492 victims in 2023, a significant rise from the 226 victims assisted in 2022, indicating a troubling trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

January 2024 alone saw a staggering 95 reported victims of job scams, marking a 545% increase from the previous month. The number of reported incidents continues to spike, with a 545% increase in reports in January 2024 compared to December 2023.

Eva Velasquez, the president and CEO of ITRC, highlighted how identity criminals are capitalizing on the trust established on legitimate platforms such as Indeed and Craigslist by reaching out to job seekers and requesting sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, ID.me login credentials, and more. This information is then utilized to perpetrate various identity crimes.

One common tactic employed by these criminals involves using a posting from a genuine company along with the name of a legitimate HR or hiring manager at that company to “recruit” candidates. While the communication may not originate from the actual company, job seekers may be easily deceived as the posting and person appear genuine.

The rise of remote work has made job scams even more prevalent, as there is a higher number of legitimate remote work opportunities available in the job market. Velasquez noted that many legitimate job interviews now take place online or over the phone, providing identity criminals with an opportunity to exploit the work-from-home trend.

Darren Guccione, CEO and co-founder at Keeper Security, remarked on the growing sophistication and proliferation of identity criminals, citing the surging incidents of online job scams. These scams often involve deceptive job postings on legitimate platforms, luring unsuspecting individuals with apparently genuine opportunities.

It is crucial for individuals to exercise caution when sharing personal information during the job application process, particularly when asked to download third-party apps or conduct interviews via email or text. Velasquez emphasized the importance of refraining from sharing sensitive information like Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, financial details, or ID.me login information.

As job scams continue to evolve, it is essential for individuals to be vigilant and question unexpected messages, no matter how legitimate they may appear. With technology and working conditions constantly changing, it is vital for job seekers to remain cautious and protect their personal information from potential cybercriminals.


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