Lisa Miner of Georgia thought she had found the perfect new job. The dialysis technician got an offer to be an app developer for CVS Health after passing a skills test administered by a purported recruiter who reached out via a personal Gmail account. The job wasn’t just fake — it was a ploy to steal her money. The supposed recruiter told her that the company would send her a $3,500 certified check to spend with a specific vendor for her work supplies. Instead of ordering her supplies when the check arrived, as she was instructed, Miner waited to see if the check would clear with her bank before spending own money. It didn’t, validating Miner’s fear: She was dealing with a scammer, the Washington Post reports.
Experts say scammers are targeting job seekers, a growing group as companies continue laying people off, and they are especially going after those pursuing remote positions. Scammers are posting fake job openings on websites and pose as recruiters in an attempt to steal everything from passwords to money and identities. “Job scammers are trying to prey on people’s desire to be flexible,” said Sinem Buber of the job search engine ZipRecruiter. “It’s a peak time because of that.” Job sites such as ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn and Indeed say they try to weed out fake job listings and employers, though scammers are getting sophisticated. These websites offer tools to flag suspicious content in case a scam gets past their screening. Still, many job seekers are airing their horror stories across social media. Miner reported the scammer to the FBI, but she hasn’t received a response from the scammer or the FBI. CVS Health advises job seekers to check the company’s career website to ensure a posting is real. The company said it never asks job candidates to join a Google Hangout, purchase their own equipment or pay to apply. It will never send emails from a third-party email service such as Yahoo or Gmail.