DENVER — LinkedIn is where people go to search for jobs, and Contact Denver7 is learning first-hand that it is also where scammers go to search for victims.
"These scams are becoming more and more prevalent," said Mike Kelley, chief security officer for Denver7's parent company, Scripps. "People are working from home, so they're expecting to have more of these interviews conducted not in person as we used to in the past."
Kelley said scammers posed as Scripps' chief administrative officer and messaged job candidates through LinkedIn about jobs that do not exist. But the interview process did not stop there.
"They actually went through an entire interview process on Skype and went back and forth for quite awhile," said Kelley.
The job candidate, who did not wish to be identified to protect her privacy, said the scammers offered her the job, and she accepted. However, when they sent her a check to pay for work-from-home supplies, she became suspicious.
"They wanted me to send money back via Zelle, and something just did not seem right," she said.
The Better Business Bureau reported an increase in employment scams during the pandemic, frequently targeting people who want to work from home.
"They send you a check to buy this equipment, but they send you too much money and want a refund," said Keylen Villagrana with the BBB of Great West and Pacific.
Villagrana explained scammers often use employment sites, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, to find unsuspecting victims.
"Or there's also once you've gone through the interview, they ask for your bank account for direct deposit. When you're on LinkedIn, you're looking for employment, and recruiters are common on LinkedIn, as well. You're thinking, "Oh, it's just a recruiter reaching out to me." So you're not as suspicious," Villagrana said.
To protect yourself, check to make sure messages come from a company's email and not a free account, such as Gmail or Skype. Look on the company's website career section to verify if a job really exists. Also, watch for red flags, such as very quick job offer and asking for your personal financial information early in the onboarding process.
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