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HR's Guide to Combatting Recruitment Scams

We examine recruitment scams, how your company can decrease its risk of them, and what to do if it is targeted.

Lucy Leonard

by Lucy Leonard - April 15th, 2024


Have you ever gotten a text from a random number with a job proposition? Seen an ad for a job on Facebook that seems too good to be true? Gotten cold outreach from a recruiter on an odd platform like Instagram? 

You’re not alone, but you are in danger of being sucked into a recruitment scam.

Especially as work-from-home or remote job postings increase, recruitment scams are also on the rise. According to recent reports, the number of fraudulent job postings has skyrocketed, leaving job seekers vulnerable to financial loss and identity theft. Reports of recruitment fraud increased 54.2% over the last year.

The Better Business Bureau estimated that each year, 14 million people in the US and Canada are targeted by employment scams — resulting in $2 billion in damages. The BBB considers them the second riskiest scam type, beat out only by cryptocurrency scams. 

They’re sobering statistics, but they underscore the importance of staying vigilant in your recruitment and job-seeking processes.

So let’s dive into what recruitment scams are, how your company can decrease the risk of them, and what to do if your company is targeted.

What is a recruitment scam?

A recruitment scam is a deceptive — but often sophisticated — tactic employed by scammers to exploit job seekers and organizations by offering fraudulent employment opportunities. These scams often involve fake job postings, sham interviews, and promises of lucrative positions with reputable companies. 

The ultimate goal is to extract personal information (like Social Security Numbers), financial details, or even money from unsuspecting victims under the guise of legitimate recruitment processes. 

Recruitment scams can result in significant financial loss, identity theft, and reputational damage for both job seekers and businesses. 

How can my company avoid being used in recruitment schemes?

To avoid being unwittingly entangled in recruitment schemes, your company must implement stringent measures to safeguard its reputation and protect potential candidates. 

Here are nine ways your company can protect itself from recruitment fraud: 

  1. Prioritize maintaining control over your company's brand and online presence by regularly monitoring job listings on reputable platforms to identify and report any unauthorized postings. 

  2. Establish clear communication channels with job seekers by directing them to your official website or designated recruitment platforms for legitimate job opportunities. On your careers page, list all of the websites and platforms where you list your jobs.

  3. Educate both your HR team and potential candidates about common recruitment scams and red flags to watch out for, ensuring they remain vigilant and informed throughout the hiring process. 

  4. Be clear about if you use recruitment firms or if all recruiters are in-house. 

  5. Implement verification procedures to authenticate the legitimacy of all job postings and inquiries, mitigating the risk of your company being misused in fraudulent recruitment activities.

  6. Be wary of sharing jobs on social media. The percentage of people who reported engaging with a scammer via social media rose 63.8% from 2022 to 2023.  

  7. Tell applicants exactly what info you will — and will not — ask for in the recruitment process. Include a note to your applicants on your careers page, with the sentiment of: “We value your privacy and security. At [company name], we do not request any Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as Social Security numbers or bank details, during our application process.”

  8. Keep an eye out for scammers who are duplicating, cloning, or “mirroring” your entire website to commit recruitment fraud — yes, it happens. The website will look just like yours but have a slightly different URL.

  9. Consider providing an internal point of contact on the HR or talent team where candidates can verify that the communication that they received is actually from the company. 

What if scammers already targeted my company?

If your company has been targeted by a recruitment scheme, swift and decisive action is essential to mitigate potential harm and protect your organization's reputation. 

Here are a few tips to get you started, but your first step should be to immediately alert and consult your company’s legal, IT, leadership, talent, and security teams. 

  • Report any fraudulent postings or website to the BBB, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and/or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). When filing a report, provide as much information as possible, such as the name and contact details of the employer, the job offer, the communication history, and any evidence of fraud.    

  • Report fake or cloned websites to the hosting organization (i.e. Wordpress).

  • Report fake job postings to the platform where it was posted (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any job boards). On LinkedIn, for example, you can report a fraudulent job post by clicking on the "More" icon on the job posting and selecting "Report this job."

  • Document the incident and keep all records. 

Final thoughts

Recruitment fraud is no joke. And if it hasn’t been already, it must be on your company’s radar going forward. 

The best way to combat recruitment scams as an organization is to be proactive. Take steps to protect your company before recruitment fraud happens, and you’ll save yourself a lot of issues down the road.

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