Phishing for Employment Docs

Of course, you would never provide a telemarketer or Nigerian Prince your passport, credit card, or banking information. Those we know. But what if it were a Zoom call, and then you were offered a great job? How much diligence would you do before you turned over your ID, SSN, DOB, and a whole bunch of other personal financial info?

Phishers are using Video

Here’s how it works: You are a high-income individual. You are contacted by a head hunter and asked to interview for a position at a desirable, well-known corporation. The video interview goes well, and a day or two after the call, you receive a verbal offer (via the agent or “implementation partner”) and a request to start ASAP. Congratulations! So happy for you!!  Now, please provide passport, social security, bank account, DOB so they can expedite your offer letter. You never hear from them again.

Signs of a Phisher

  • There’s a HUGE rush for you to start; they need your info ASAP
  • Everything is verbal. You email, they call. You ask for docs, they call.
  • They want a “deposit” for your equipment, a credit card is fine…what’s the security code?
  • Staffing or “implementation partner” has a thin website. No corporate officers, no street address, no phone numbers, no contact information.
  • You’re not 100% sure to whom you report.
  • Offer, contract, or SOW is coming soon. When it does, it looks like it was put together by a 3-year old.

Trust Your Gut

In all cons, the mark inevitably says, “I knew something was wrong..…” Closely followed by, “But, everyone was SO nice!”

The con is counting on your want of the job. Stay focused. Even if its a dream job (and they always are), if something seems off, don’t ignore your Spidee-sense! Cons are charming and charismatic; that’s how they gain your CONfidence !

Remember: Just because there’s a person on video asking you questions that doesn’t mean they are who they say they are. Anyone can ask a question, and far too many interviews are completely one-sided! 

Cons choose common names, so they’re hard to Google. Others Catfish legitimate LinkedIn profiles, especially if they lack profile pictures. Did the “client” vid-in or not? Do you have legitimate contact information?  Multiple email domains with multiple parties? Offshore? If so, you have reason to be concerned.

Do Your Diligence

Before you turn over your ID and financial information to a staffing agent or prospective employer, be sure that you’ve done your diligence!  You have a real contract, employee handbook, and benefit package.  Ensure you understand who owns the company, where they are physically located, and who, exactly, is responsible for paying you.  If you have any concerns, be sure to contact your prospective manager or client contact. Get all your questions answered – in writing – before you turn over any of your personal information.

Say Nothing

Once you’ve discovered the con, cut-off all contact, and resist the urge to call them out on it! They will only assure you that you are mistaken, and details you impart about how you caught on, what they did wrong, where they were sloppy, will only help them to improve their process.  Check your ego. Click delete. Select Block. And, keep your brilliance to yourself!

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If you enjoyed this article, check out some my posts and podcasts on employment, interviewing, and the contingent job market. Thanks for reading!

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Copyright 2021 Pierce/Wharton Research, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this post shall be reproduced without permission.

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