There has been an increase in recruitment scams taking place via LinkedIn with jobseekers being defrauded out of large sums of money in fake processes. Oscar Rodriguez, vice-president of product management at LinkedIn told the Financial Times “We see websites being set up, we see phone numbers with a seemingly professional operator picking up the phone and answering on the company’s behalf. We see a move to more sophisticated deception. There’s certainly an increase in the sophistication of the attacks and the cleverness.”
Scammers identified businesses that were already hiring, created “lookalike” websites with similar job ads and, via LinkedIn’s InMail feature, invited jobseekers to enter personal information into the websites, before conducting remote interviews via Skype. “To top it off, they also created Skype profiles with the picture of the recruiter from the companies to conduct interviews as well,” said Deepen Desai, vice-president of security research at cyber security company Zscaler.
The scams resulting in jobseekers passing personal details to the scammers, with some ‘recruiters’ requesting money for IT equipment or third-party training for which applicants would never be reimbursed.
Experts say remote working has accelerated the trend. “In the old days, the problem for fraudsters and scammers was the face-to-face interview,” said Keith Rosser, chair of JobsAware and regular guest on IWORK podcasts. “Now there’s a fully digital process. Workers expect an online interview and application.”
Of the almost 22m fake accounts LinkedIn blocked in January to June 2022, almost 75% were stopped at the account registration stage. A further 24.6% were restricted by LinkedIn before they are flagged by other users. It has also recently introduced features telling users how long a person has operated a LinkedIn profile and it is developing cautionary, automatic prompts in InMail to warn users when they receive suspicious messages.