A rise in recruitment scams in which job seekers are cheated out of their personal details or money is another effect of the pandemic, with millions suddenly finding themselves with little or no work, according to researchers on the QUT fraud.

  • Various techniques to defraud job seekers involve asking them to upload personal information which is resold
  • Jobs that offer good pay for little work or require qualifications that may be fake
  • The rise of legitimate work-from-home ads has made some fake ads harder to spot

Associate Professor Deanna Grant-Smith of the QUT Center for Decent Work and Industry said lockdowns and physical distancing restrictions “have created an abundant environment for offenders to effectively target potential victims”.

Researchers used the term recruitment fraud to refer to job seekers as victims of fraud in a study published in the journal Social Alternatives, which argues for a research agenda to better understand this type of fraud.

Professor Grant-Smith (pictured below left) said a common technique of recruitment fraud is to promote a bogus job opportunity to a potential job seeker for a direct monetary reward or to access sensitive personal information in order to gain an indirect advantage.

“The offenders seek to harvest personal information by posting a bogus advertisement that compels job seekers to upload personal information which the offenders compile into databases and resell to legitimate and illegitimate groups,” Professor Deanna said. Grant Smith.

“Identity theft is another approach that uses the same trick to obtain personal information from applicants by seeking passports, bank account information and driver’s licenses so that they can impersonate the victim. or use their bank account to launder money.

“People using professional sites like LinkedIn may be targeted to receive fake job postings through the platform that trick them into sharing banking and other personal information.

“A third type of recruitment fraud is where offenders demand upfront payments to cover services/fees related to potential employment or to pay for starter kits, visas, training or travel for bogus jobs.

“In any case, the victims lose personal data or money without any benefit.”

QUT Cross Associate Professor (pictured right) from the Center for Justice said victims might not realize what had happened and simply believe they were not the preferred candidate.

“It can be difficult to spot a fake job posting as they often have few observable differences, but as a general rule, if the job posting offers a large salary for a job with limited or no qualifications or experience , it is likely to be wrong,” said Associate Professor Cross.

“Pre-pandemic, these overpaid work-from-home positions were twice as likely to be fake as ‘real’ postings and easily discernible, but this criterion has become problematic during the pandemic, as working from home has become acceptable. and a “benefit” of real job offers.

“Emerging research is now trying to identify fake job postings by drawing parallels with other types of cybercrime, including phishing, spam, cyberbullying, opinion fraud, Wikipedia vandalism, fake news and trolling.”

Professor Cross said research into recruitment fraud was needed to quantify both its prevalence and its victims.

“We particularly need additional research that compares contemporary fraudulent job offers with legitimate employment opportunities in the age of Covid,” she said.

“In order to be able to target awareness campaigns for potential victims, we need to do more research into the characteristics of those most likely to fall victim to recruitment fraud.

“Finally, we need to investigate the monitoring and detection role of placement sites to minimize the posting of fraudulent ads.”

Recruitment Fraud: Increased Exploitation Opportunities in Uncertain Times? was published in Social Alternatives. A backgrounder on the subject is here.

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