Job Seekers, Beware: Protect Yourself from Scammers Impersonating Recruiters

by | Job Hunting

Scam alert: If you’re an IT job seeker, it’s important to know how to recognize scam job postings and hiring processes. There are a number of tactics scammers will use to get your personal information and try to defraud you of money.

We have seen scammers post fake job ads and contact job seekers pretending to be employees of well-known branded companies.

Recently we have learned that a scam company is impersonating ProFocus and our team. They ran an ad on ZipRecruiter that looked like it was ProFocus but was totally fake. They then pretended to interview candidates and make fake job offers in ProFocus’ name.

We’ve only had the one fake job posting under the ProFocus name and luckily it seems no one lost money or their personal information. This is in part due to an information campaign that we put into action, immediately notifying people with a prominent warning on our web site.

Our team has reported the scammers to the FBI and is monitoring ZipRecruiter on an ongoing basis to nip any new problems in the bud. We also put out social media announcements warning people and have contacted Google regarding the Gmail addresses that were involved in the scam. We’re taking every step we can to prevent fraudsters impersonating ProFocus in the future.

Here’s what you should know to avoid recruiting scams.

Is That Job Advertisement or Offer a Scam? Red Flags to Watch Our For

1. Emails from URLs other than the official company — check carefully

If the website or email URL is different from the company they claim to represent, that’s a big red flag. Scammers will create fake profiles on job posting sites as recruiters or companies. They may purchase similar domain names or change the sender email name and/or signature to impersonate other companies.

It may not be obvious at first glance that an email or web address is from the wrong URL, as seen in this example of a phishing scam from DigiTrust Group.

If you receive an email from ProFocus, always verify that it’s coming from our correct URL – We will never contact you from another email address.

2. Shoddy interviewing — such as a chat-based interview

If the interview process is conducted via an unusual format, such as a chat app, you may be dealing with a scammer. Some scammers will also conduct an interview via phone or Google Hangouts.

Pay attention to the questions they ask and the manner in which they conduct the interview. Professional recruiters will be focused on your skills and experience. A scammer who is after your personal information or money may be more focused on getting you excited about the “job” and collecting your personal information.

3. The recruiter makes an offer too quickly

ProFocus recruiters are careful to only match well-qualified candidates to the right jobs, so we take time to really get to know you. If the interview process is very quick and not very thorough, you should be wary.

4. Poor service / poor communication. Most scammers are not super professional

Vague or poorly written job descriptions, lots of grammar or spelling errors, a website that looks like it was quickly or poorly constructed, incomplete LinkedIn profiles with few or no connections — all of these are signs that it might be a scammer contacting you.

It’s always a good idea to Google the company or person that is contacting you and verify that they’re a real company and that the information they’ve provided is accurate.

5. The “recruiter” requests or sends money

If the recruiter claims to need upfront payment for training, background checks or other costs, it’s almost certainly a scam.

Real recruiters will also never send a check and ask you to cash it and send the money — this is another common scam.
It’s important to know that some more elaborate scams involve making a “job offer” and then collecting your banking information and sensitive personal information (such as Social Security Number) during the fake “onboarding” process.

The scammer may even send you a “paycheck”. Watch out for the other red flags listed above and remember — if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

What to do if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam

If you suspect you have been contacted by a scammer representing the ProFocus team or if you have any questions about this warning, please reach out to us ASAP at 503-236-2000.

If you think you have been a victim of a scam or fraud, you should file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) as well as your state attorney general (links for Oregon and Washington).

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About ProFocus

ProFocus is an IT staffing and consulting company. We strive to connect a select few of the right technology professionals to the right jobs.

We get to know our clients and candidates in detail and only carefully introduce a small number of candidates that fit the role well.