Job seekers: Don’t get caught in a LinkedIn scammer’s trap

ID-100152524With many job seekers using LinkedIn to market themselves to potential employers, scammers also are finding ways to exploit the site by posing as recruiters, Better Business Bureau of St. Louis warns.

LinkedIn appeals to job seekers because it allows them to post their experience and resumes and then be contacted by potential employers or recruiters.

Scammers create fake profiles to disguise themselves as recruiters. They send messages that include a link to a site that seeks personal information. The websites may look legitimate, but often they ask for financial information and personal identifying information, such as Social Security numbers or birthdates. Scammers then use that information to steal your identity, access bank accounts or install malware on your computer.

“Legitimate recruiters will never ask you for banking information,” said St. Louis BBB president and CEO Michelle L. Corey.

“Remember that the image displayed on the LinkedIn profile may not be an actual recruiter,” Corey said. “You should research any recruiter who contacts you before you divulge any sensitive information. Most employers will not ask for a Social Security number or birth date until they actually offer you the job.”

BBB offers these tips to avoid becoming a victim of a LinkedIn scam:

  • Do not add just anyone on LinkedIn. Before connecting with or adding someone, check out their profile and connections. If you 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, block them.  A real employer will never ask you to pay to work.
  • Be wary of work-at-home jobs. Real work-at-home jobs are scarce, so be cautious when you find these postings.
  • Search for the recruiter’s picture. Scammers often use a fake, generic photo and you can most likely find the photo elsewhere.
  • Ask to call them. If a recruiter contacts you via message, request to speak on the phone. If they seem to avoid a phone call, consider that a red flag.
  • 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.