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How To Spot LinkedIn Job Scams (11 Warning Signs)

Scammers use LinkedIn to post fake job listings, impersonate recruiters, and trick you into giving them sensitive information or sending money.

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      How Can You Tell If You’re Dealing With a LinkedIn Scammer?

      LinkedIn is more than just a professional networking website. If you’re in the market for a new job, it’s an ideal place to find opportunities and engage with recruiters. But you need to be cautious.

      Scammers are notorious for exploiting LinkedIn’s massive user base, with unsuspecting job seekers becoming prime targets for scams and fraud. 

      According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [*]:

      Americans lost over $490 million to fake jobs and business opportunities in 2023 alone.

      In this guide, we’ll explain what LinkedIn job scams are, the most common signs to watch out for in your job search, and what to do if you’ve fallen victim to a scam.

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      What Are LinkedIn Job Scams? How Do They Work?

      LinkedIn job scams occur when fraudsters pose as recruiters or representatives of real companies and offer enticing job offers that don’t actually exist. The goal is to get you to send money for fake “training” sessions and supplies, or divulge sensitive information that can be used to steal your identity.

      Scammers have multiple ways of targeting victims on LinkedIn — from fake job postings to phishing emails or look-alike company and recruiter pages. 

      Once you engage, the scam follows a typical pattern.

      First, you’re asked to provide detailed information for your application, or even a background check. This can include banking or credit card details, photos of your ID, or even your Social Security number (SSN). 

      Then, scammers either ask you to send them money (which they claim will be reimbursed) or send you a link to a fake website that infects your device with malware. 

      Falling for a fake job or other LinkedIn scam can have serious consequences, such as:

      • You could give up sensitive information that leads to identity theft. Many job scammers request sensitive information in order for you to “secure” the job — including your SSN, banking details, and more. Even the information on your resume can be used to steal your identity.
      • You could get tricked into paying for fake training, materials, etc. As part of the onboarding process, you may be asked to pay for job training. Any money you send actually goes to the scammer — and is likely to be unrecoverable.
      • Scammers could gain access to your bank account. If you provide your bank account numbers to a job scammer, they’ll be able to wire themselves money or even drain your account completely. Legitimate employers won’t ask for banking details before you’ve been hired.
      • Hackers can take over your LinkedIn account and scam your followers. In some cases, hackers ask for an SMS code under the guise of “verifying your identity.” This is a tactic that takes advantage of two-factor authentication (2FA) to hack your LinkedIn account — which can then be used to impersonate you and perpetuate the scam.
      🏆 Get award-winning protection against online scammers. Aura’s all-in-one solution combines identity theft and fraud protection with AI-powered digital security, 24/7 support, and up to $5 million in insurance coverage. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      11 Warning Signs of a LinkedIn Job Scam

      1. Vague job descriptions with generic language
      2. Being asked to pay upfront for a job
      3. Requests for personal information
      4. Emails sent from a personal account
      5. Interviews over WhatsApp or other text platforms
      6. Too-good-to-be-true job offers
      7. No company LinkedIn page
      8. Suspicious recruiter profiles
      9. “No interview” job offers
      10. The job posting isn’t on the company’s website or profile
      11. “Previously undisclosed” government jobs

      LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding job opportunities — but it’s also rife with scammers. Here are some of the most common red flags to watch out for.

      1. Vague job descriptions with generic language

      Scammers often try to trap as many victims as possible and will post job offerings that are vague enough to entice a variety of applicants.

      a LinkedIn message from a fake recruiter offering a job posting homes for rent on Facebook Marketplace
      Example of a fake recruiter sending a vague message about a potential job. Source: Reddit

      In some cases, you may be directly contacted by a LinkedIn recruiter who uses generic language — a clear sign that they’ve copy-pasted the message and sent it to hundreds or thousands of other potential victims.

      Ask these questions before responding to a job ad or recruiter message:

      • Do you know what the job actually entails? If you can’t say for sure what type of work the job offer is for, there’s a good chance it’s a scam designed to get you to reach out for more information.
      • Does the message sound like it was written for you? Check for red flags in the message’s greeting and content — for instance, did the sender address you by name (rather than with a generic greeting) or reference your previous job experience? If not, there’s a good chance it’s a copied message that’s been sent to hundreds of other potential victims.
      • Are there spelling or grammar mistakes? Unnatural phrasing and unusual grammatical errors are often telltale signs that you’re dealing with a scammer.

      💡 Related: 20+ Early Warning Signs of a Fake Job

      2. Being asked to pay upfront for a job

      If you’re offered a job and then promptly sent an invoice for equipment, or asked to purchase software required for your new role, watch out. They’ll promise to reimburse you later — but when you send the money, you never receive the equipment or the promised reimbursement.

      What to do if a recruiter asks you to pay for equipment:

      • Never pay to get a job. No real company will require you to pay fees to apply or get hired. Even being asked to pay for equipment or fees prior to starting a job is unreasonable.
      • Prior to accepting a job offer, always confirm that equipment will be company-provided. Whenever you’re considering a job, it’s worth getting this in writing so that you don’t end up having to pay out of pocket for supplies that are required to do your job.
      • Don’t trust checks. Scammers often ask you to deposit the money and send a portion of it back to them. A few days later, your bank will discover that the check is fake and withdraw the missing money from your account, leaving you on the hook. 

      3. Requests for personal information

      Fake LinkedIn job recruiters sometimes make strange requests for sensitive information as part of the application process — such as your Social Security number (SSN) or copies of your government-issued IDs. 

      They often do this under the guise of confirming that your identity matches up with your LinkedIn profile.

      Do this before providing any sensitive information:

      • Research the company. Look for an official website and any social media profiles. Do they have an established history and appear trustworthy? It’s also a good idea to check Glassdoor for any employee reviews.
      • Cross-reference job postings on the company’s official website. Most company websites have a “Careers” page that lists job openings. If a LinkedIn job isn’t also posted on the company’s website, there’s a good chance it’s fake.
      • Don’t include sensitive or financial information on job applications. There’s no reason a company should need your ID or SSN during the application process. Only provide this data after accepting a job offer — and only if you’re absolutely certain that the company is legitimate.

      💡 Related: What Can Scammers Do With Your Personal Information?

      4. Emails sent from a personal account

      Legitimate recruiters and hiring managers will contact you via an official company email address – i.e., johndoe@company.com.

      If you receive communication about a job from a Gmail, Outlook, or iCloud account, consider this a telltale sign that you’re dealing with a scammer. It’s best to ignore these emails completely.

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      5. Interviews over WhatsApp or other text platforms

      Scammers know that LinkedIn and other social media platforms have safeguards in place to protect their users from scams.

      To avoid getting reported or flagged, they often request that you move the conversation to an external platform — usually WhatsApp or Telegram. These text platforms provide fraudsters a level of anonymity that makes it easier to perpetuate the scheme without getting their LinkedIn accounts banned.

      Keep in mind that real interviews will almost always be held either in person or via a web conferencing app such as Zoom. Any interview process that takes place solely on a messaging platform is suspect.

      💡 Related: Protect Yourself From These 10 Common WhatsApp Scams

      6. Too-good-to-be-true job offers

      Another common sign of a LinkedIn job scam is an entry-level job posting with few qualification requirements. These posts typically boast high salaries and impressive benefits in hopes of drawing in a large pool of potential victims.

      a LinkedIn message from a fake recruiter offering a job as a digital marketing manager
      Example of a fake job posting for a marketing job. Source: Which?>

      Since over half of the U.S. workforce would prefer to work remotely [*], scammers often dangle work-from-home opportunities with flexible hours.

      Ask these questions before accepting a generous job offer:

      • Consider whether the salary is in line with your experience level. Be honest with yourself about your experience and whether or not the salary is in line with your qualifications. An entry-level position offering a high-paying senior-level salary is a glaring red flag that you shouldn’t ignore.
      • Trust your gut. If anything feels “off,” take a step back and do a gut check. Job offers that seem too good to be true almost always are.

      7. No company LinkedIn page

      If you’re contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn, but you can’t find a LinkedIn page for the company the recruiter claims to represent, this should raise suspicion.

      While a company not having a LinkedIn page isn’t always a sign of a scam, it’s usually better to stay away. A company that doesn’t maintain a presence on LinkedIn isn’t likely to contact job candidates on the platform — so the “recruiter” you’re speaking to could very well be fraudulent.

      💡 Related: 10 LinkedIn Scams You Need To Know About

      8. Suspicious recruiter profiles

      Rather than impersonating a company, it’s often easier for scammers to simply pretend to be a recruiter. They’ll create a fake LinkedIn profile and target LinkedIn members with the “Open to Work” badge.

      If a recruiter sends you messages with lots of grammatical errors and excessive emojis or other displays of unprofessional behavior — including pressuring you to move forward with a job — it’s probably a scammer.

      Ask these questions before moving forward with a recruiter:

      • Does the person’s LinkedIn profile appear trustworthy? Look at their past experience and current job — are these legitimate companies? Is the profile information complete or empty? If you see a verified badge, that’s one positive sign.
      • Do they have an appropriate amount of followers? A very low follower count usually means that the account is not established and was only recently created.
      • Do they post or interact regularly? No recent account activity is another hallmark of a fake recruiter profile.

      9. “No interview” job offers

      Another warning sign of a LinkedIn job scam is being offered a job upfront without a phone, video, or in-person interview.

      Most companies have a screening process that involves actually speaking to their candidates. If a company skips over this, it’s usually a bad sign.

      In some cases, scammers communicate with you through email or text messages and regard that as a sufficient “interview.” But don’t be fooled — this tactic is meant to keep their true identity a secret. If they refuse to speak with you face-to-face, you can assume it’s a scam.

      💡 Related: How To Tell If Someone Is Scamming You Online

      10. The job posting isn’t on the company’s website or profile

      Anyone can create a company profile on LinkedIn and post jobs. Scammers know this and create look-alike LinkedIn pages to impersonate well-known companies. Then, they create fraudulent listings for jobs that don’t actually exist.

      A job that isn’t cross-posted on the company’s website is a bad sign unless you’re already certain it’s a legitimate job.

      How to verify if a LinkedIn job is legitimate:

      • Call the company directly. Look up the company’s website and call its official phone number to confirm the job posting. Avoid using any numbers provided by the recruiter as these could be fake.
      • Make sure it’s not an impersonated page. Impersonated LinkedIn pages mirror their legitimate counterparts closely at first glance. But when you look deeper, you’ll notice strange inconsistencies — like incomplete profiles, no employees, and mismatched company names and website domains.

      11. “Previously undisclosed” government jobs

      Another warning sign of a LinkedIn job scam is being contacted by a recruiter about a government job that hasn’t yet been posted or made public. This is a tactic commonly used to target U.S. veterans.

      These fake job offers can be enticing because they pique curiosity. But no matter how mysterious or interesting the offer sounds, don’t believe or engage with anyone who tries to offer you a government job that supposedly hasn’t been posted before — All federal government positions are posted publicly.

      What to do if you’re contacted about a government job:

      • Verify federal government positions with USAjobs.gov before applying. This is the federal government’s official employment website.
      • Be wary of unsolicited interview requests. While recruiters do sometimes approach potential candidates unprompted, you should always proceed with caution when it comes to unsolicited interview requests.
      ⚡️ Aura can warn you in real-time if you’re being scammed. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution can warn you of fake websites, phishing links, scam calls, and more. Try Aura free for 14 days and stay safe online.

      How To Report a Scam on LinkedIn

      If you come across a LinkedIn job scam, you should report it to the platform right away to help others avoid it. 

      Here’s what to do: 

      • Gather evidence of the scam, including links to and screenshots of the job posting, along with any communication you’ve had with the scammer. 
      • Contact LinkedIn support by using the Report a Possible Scam form.
      • Submit and respond to any follow-up requests for information. 

      Were You the Victim of a LinkedIn Job Scam? Do This!

      LinkedIn is a legitimate platform on which you can find work, but scammers take advantage of it to post fake jobs with the goal of stealing your money or identity.

      Interacting with a fake LinkedIn recruiter can open you up to identity theft, credit fraud, and lost funds — not to mention the disappointment of not getting a job.

      If you’ve sent a LinkedIn scammer personal information or money, here’s what to do:

      • Take screenshots of your conversations, and then break off contact with the scammer. Write down the scammer’s contact information and take screenshots of any messages. Then, block the scammer, as any additional information they gather about you can open you up to further fraud.
      • Freeze your credit with all three bureaus. A credit freeze prevents anyone from using your personal information to take out loans or open accounts in your name. To request a freeze, you’ll need to contact each of the three major bureaus separately — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
      • Secure your LinkedIn and other online accounts. It’s a good idea to update your passwords, making sure that each one is unique; and start using a secure password manager, like the one included with every Aura plan. For additional protection, enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA) whenever possible.
      • Report the scammers to LinkedIn as well as the company they’re impersonating. Reporting the scam to LinkedIn allows them to investigate and potentially remove the scammer’s profile. If a real company is being impersonated, you should reach out to them as well.
      • File an official identity theft report with the FTC. This is essential if you’ve given up any personal information that could be used to impersonate you or steal your identity. You can file a report online by going to IdentityTheft.gov.
      • Call your bank’s fraud department and try to recover any lost funds. If you sent money to a scammer for supposed job “fees” or equipment, contact your bank (or the service you used to send the money) as quickly as possible. You should be able to request a reversal or chargeback in order to refund the scammed funds.
      • Sign up for identity theft and fraud protection. Aura’s comprehensive cybersecurity solution monitors your sensitive information and sends alerts to protect you from all types of scams. Plus, you get access to AI-powered digital security tools, 24/7 U.S.-based support from a dedicated team of White Glove Fraud Resolution Specialists, and up to $5 million in insurance coverage for eligible losses due to identity theft. 
      Stay safe from LinkedIn job scams. Try Aura free for 14 days.
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