Employment Scams Target Job Applicants
Trying to land your next job can be stressful enough without having to worry about scammers taking advantage of you. But, according to the Better Business Bureau, employment scams were the most-popular scam reported in 2018.
The scammers post fake job postings to popular job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn and CareerBuilder. Once the applicant applies, the scammer responds by email or text to try and get money or personal information. Some are even posing as recruiters from well-known companies.
It’s something Mervin Gabon has had to deal with as an advisor in Talent Acquisition Technology at Southern California Edison. Once he is notified of a fake job posting that looks like it came from SCE or Edison International, he works with the administrator of the job board to take it down and close the scammer’s account.
“It really is frustrating. It’s not who we are and it’s not how our company works,” he said. “All of us were candidates at one time.”
One female applicant was contacted directly by a scammer posing as an Edison International executive. Although she had not applied for a job, the scammer found her email on a popular job board and started texting her.
“Congratulations and welcome to Edison International,” say the texts that start with pleasantries. But soon enough, the scammer starts asking for money. “You will proceed to your bank and make deposit of check … You will be making some few payments … Your first week pay would be deducted from that.”
Luckily, this applicant was smart enough to contact Edison directly to confirm the scam and did not lose any money or divulge confidential information.
Scams like these are sent to a dedicated team at SCE that deals with scammers and works to stop them. In addition to employment scams, this team deals with bill scams and imposters posing as SCE employees.
It really is frustrating. It’s not who we are and it’s not how our company works. All of us were candidates at one time.Mervin Gabon, SCE Advisor
“Like all scammers they are looking for a quick dollar,” said Peggy, whose job at SCE is to shutdown scammers, and does not want to divulge her identity. “It’s upsetting that these bad people are doing bad things. These are horrible people.”
Scammers target vulnerable communities like seniors, non-English speakers and those looking for jobs. Last year, more than 17,000 SCE customers filed scam complaints and customers lost $427,000 to scammers. A total of 1,600 scammer phone numbers targeting SCE customers were shut down last year.
To help combat employment scams, SCE and Edison International job postings include warnings about these type of scams. “Please be aware of scammers posing as recruiters or employers, using reputable company names with the intention to collect confidential and/or financial information,” the note states.
Applicants can report any unsolicited or suspicious job offers or applications that claim to be from Edison International or SCE to 626-815-5611.
Here are some tips to help you avoid the next scam:
- Never make a payment over the telephone in response to an unsolicited call. SCE employees never ask for, or collect, money out in the field.
- Never use the callback number provided by the caller.
- SCE does not accept prepaid debit cards, bitcoins or gift cards for bill payment.
- Never give your personal information to anyone, including your billing account information, Social Security number, ATM pin number, etc.
- Don’t trust caller ID, even if it says Southern California Edison. Criminals routinely use a caller ID “spoofing” scam to fool customers into thinking they’re talking to a real SCE employee.