- North American residents have flagged more than 3,000 employment scams to the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker since January, according to the Better Business Bureau. More than $3 million have been lost as a result. Last year, only 1,700 scams were reported between January and October and only $800,000 were stolen. As retailers and other employers hire in mass for the holiday season, scammers will likely seize the opportunity to take advantage of job seekers, tricking people into giving them personal information and money.
- Several different types of scams have been reported. They can begin with vague job titles or descriptions, typically requiring no experience. This can capture a wide array of applicants, increasing the scammer's chances of success. Scammers often tell applicants they will hire them on the spot, no interview required. The Bureau suggested job seekers avoid any job postings that offer to interview them via chat bot or instant messaging.
- Fake recruiters sometimes ask applicants to pay a fee, which could signal duplicity to job seekers. Others refuse to disclose the "client" they're hiring for, another sign of a scam. The Bureau said it advises job seekers to independently verify any contact information a recruiter has offered and check with the Bureau to find out if the company has had any complaints lodged against it.
With the holiday hiring push strong this year, there clearly will be more opportunities for scammers to take advantage of job seekers, and there is risk for retailers and employers legitimately looking for help this season if job seekers are turned off.
The National Retail Foundation has estimated retailers will hire 650,000 seasonal workers for the 2018 holiday seasoning. With more companies turning to tech for mass hiring, using chatbots rather than recruiters for screening calls, for example, the chances that scams will fool job seekers increase. Organizations pushing to hire on the spot, like UPS did on its "UPS Brown Friday," to make sure seasonal workers aren't snatched up by another company may also increase scammers' success.
Workers need to be vigilant in verifying they're talking to a legitimate recruiter, and recruiters and retailers will likely need to increase their transparency to make sure job seekers know they represent a bona fide business, not a scam.