Scammers Are Posing As Fake Job Recruiters. Here’s How to Avoid Them.

  • A recent MBA graduate went viral on LinkedIn after being caught in an online job scam.
  • “This is a sophisticated, calculated and targeted crime,” she wrote in the post.
  • Here are some tips to avoid getting scammed when looking for a job.

When Narisa Kiattaweesup checked her email earlier this month, she was delighted to receive an interview for a position as product design manager at software company Splunk.

However, her joy turned to horror when she discovered the following week that she had been the target of an elaborate identity theft.

In a viral LinkedIn post, Kiattaweesup wrote that she was “quickly brought in for an interview” because the skills on her AngelList profile matched the position. After receiving a prompt offer, she was asked for personal information, including a copy of her driver’s license, a direct deposit form, and background check approval.

The recent MBA graduate wrote that she felt “uncomfortable” after being asked to use company funds linked to her personal bank account to buy an iPhone and Apple Watch for a home office. She was then told to send these to the company for software updates.

After checking with friends and family members, they urged her to contact Splunk’s human resources department, who confirmed the communications were not from the company and were a scam. Kiattaweesup immediately canceled the shipment and their card.

“The scariest thing is receiving this through my school email,” she wrote. “They target students like me. Part of me felt like I should have known better. The other part of me knows this isn’t one of those stupid scams.”

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A Splunk spokesperson told Insider that they are “aware of this industry-wide hiring fraud” and are not involved in the fraudulent behavior.

“We can confirm that the communications referenced in the LinkedIn posts were not sent by or on behalf of Splunk,” the spokesperson said. “Splunk is diligently working with our talent acquisition, legal and security teams, as well as external parties, to help ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.”

Kiattaweesup is one of several victims of identity theft via job sites like LinkedIn and AngelList. In recent months, recent graduates and young job seekers have been particularly vulnerable to such scams, largely thanks to the rise of remote work and fake accounts on job boards.

Here are some tips and warning signs so you don’t get scammed when looking for a job.

Be wary of on-site virtual interviews

Kiattaweesup wrote that she was twice led into believing she was speaking to real Splunk employees, including Chief Information Officer Alexander Fridman. However, she later learned that they were scammers.

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), job seekers “should be wary of any request to immediately conduct an online video interview without first being contacted by the hiring organization.”

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“A legitimate online interview is generally preceded by initial contact and information such as interview time, names and titles of those who may be on the phone,” FINRA explains on its website. “A lack of advance preparation could be a red flag.”

Check grammar and punctuation

Check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in all correspondence. While the occasional typo needn’t be a cause for concern, multiple errors or inconsistencies should raise a red flag.

FINRA suggests being wary of “strange or poorly written text, including typographical errors or unusual wording, on the online platform page or in other communications.”

Be wary of device purchase and resend requests

While reshipping orders falls into a fraud category of its own, any request to purchase and ship product should be a red flag, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

“The products are often high-priced goods, such as branded electronics, that are bought with stolen credit cards,” the FTC warns on its website. “Reshipping goods is never a real job. It’s just part of a scam.”

Check email headers and URLs

According to job search website Flex Jobs, scammers often make subtle changes to a company’s website URL or emails to trick potential targets.

“For example, a real company website might have the address But if you look at the fake website, the address is It’s a subtle change, but it could indicate that you’re not on the company’s real website,” Flex Jobs explains.

In the case of Kiattaweesup, the first email was sent from [email protected], even though the company actually uses “.com” addresses.

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Be wary of requests for personal information

Personal information such as social security and bank account numbers should never be shared over the phone or via email. Most legitimate companies provide protected portals or other encrypted forms to share this information.

According to FINRA, bank information should always be provided after hiring.

“And even then, before providing any personal information, you should contact the company directly to confirm that the position and the forms requested are valid.”

Dive deep into the company and its hiring managers

Beyond a simple web search for the company and hiring manager, the FTC recommends queries using the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”

Potential job seekers can also call the company’s human resources department directly to confirm the job offer.

Ask to meet in person if possible

In today’s remote working era, it’s easier than ever for scammers to target vulnerable victims online. In the case of Kiattaweesup, she was contacted for a remote role where online interviews and discussions are now the order of the day.

The University of Colorado recommends requesting an in-person meeting whenever possible to better ensure the validity of the company and the opportunity itself. In addition, the university recommends never agreeing to a background check without first meeting the employer.

Counsel with friends and family members

If something seems fishy, ​​the FTC recommends taking it up with someone you trust, as Kiattaweesup did. New graduates may be new to the hiring process, and an outside source can help determine whether or not an offer seems legitimate.

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