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How to Avoid Common Scams and Maintain Workplace Safety

Common workplace scams to be aware of and avoid in the future

Nikhil Bendre

by Nikhil Bendre - August 11th, 2022


Unfortunately, scams in the workplace are an extremely common occurrence. These scams can come in a variety of forms, and more importantly, from a variety of sources. Some scams impact the company as a whole. Others are more specific to candidates going through the hiring process. Regardless, it’s our responsibility as HR professionals to actively create the most transparent and authentic work environment possible. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently seen business scams and find some HR-based solutions!

Job Search Scams

Looking for a job is difficult and daunting as it is. Scammers are only further complicating this process by flooding job posting sites with fake opportunities. Since these occur before candidates are hired, obviously there isn’t much you can do as an HR professional. However, you can make sure that your own organization’s job listings follow best practices, provide thorough details, and are as transparent as you can make them. Fake listings will usually feature some or all of the following - requests for personal information, demands for payment, lack of details, and absence of responses to candidate questions. Ensuring that your opportunities are posted respectably is sure to attract more quality candidates to your company!

Phishing Emails

Online scammers are getting more and more advanced in their scamming ways. It’s almost alarming how frequently people will send emails to employees of a company posing as an upper-level executive in order to gain private information about the company or that individual. Granted, the actual content of these messages is almost always suspicious enough to set off a mental alarm, but the sender address and information seems legitimate. 

Warn your team of these types of communications and stress that if they receive any communications that seem fake, say something. Vigilance is key - make sure your team knows to trust their gut and do your part to protect them!

Interview Process Scams

This one may be a tough pill to swallow - we need to address how recruiters and hiring managers can scam candidates who are going through the hiring process. It’s our job to avoid empty promises and misleading statements while going through interviews with a candidate. These red flags may include exaggerations about company culture, loose promises pertaining to growth and career trajectory, and even bold-faced lies about the position and its responsibilities. As competitive as the job market is right now, it still is a seeker’s market in a certain sense. Candidates are a lot more aware of signals to look out for that could deter them from an opportunity. A classic example is when hiring managers say, “We’re like a family here.” This statement is an immediate turnoff for so many job seekers, especially in the younger generations, as that roughly translates to, “We won’t be respecting your work-life boundaries.” 

Make sure that  your hiring process is respectful, honest, and crystal-clear for each and every candidate. Don’t try to make your organization and its job opportunities seem like something they’re not. Be authentic - the candidates who are a solid fit will come to you eventually!

Compensation Scams

One of the biggest scams we might not commonly regard as a scam is unjust pay distribution. After all, everyone works to make a living for themselves and anyone they may be supporting. Compensation is definitely the top item that you don’t want to be playing around with. As transparency becomes an increasingly significant priority for employees, tolerance for unfair pay is no longer present. 

Make sure you’re valuing your employees at what they’re truly worth and offering them packages that not only sustain a quality means of living, but correlates with the tremendous amount of hard work they put in. This is crucial to establishing a mutual trust between employer and employee and to nurturing a mutually beneficial, professional relationship!

The reality is that scams are all around us. Some are blatantly malicious, while others may seem like small white lies or exaggerations but have a huge impact. To sum up HR’s role in facilitating a scam-free workplace, be sure to warn, prevent, and protect your team from external scams, and arguably more importantly, make sure you’re not the scammer yourself! The effort towards an honest and clear workplace is one that is constant and demanding - but it’s one that is absolutely necessary and beyond worth it.

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