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How online fraudsters are using job search engines to ensnare victims

Jobseekers tend to start out by uploading their resume to job search engines such as ZipRecruiter

Students, stay-at-home mothers and the unemployed are all sections of society that might be interested in earning an extra income by working from home.

With a number of job search engines available online, this can be a practical, profitable and convenient way to make money; however, experts are warning that online fraudsters are preying on jobseekers who use these search engines to extract both free labour and money.

Jobseekers tend to start out by uploading their resume to job search engines such as ZipRecruiter. Job offers will then come in via the website from potential clients. As the offers come through the website, jobseekers are unlikely to question them, especially when the pay cheques and vouchers for work completed begin rolling in; however, some of these ‘clients’ are fraudsters who have set up accounts with the website to target those looking for work.

The first warning sign is that these cheques often come with instructions to deposit a certain amount into a separate account. As banks are duty bound to release funds within a few days, the unfortunate jobseeker sees the money go into their account(s) and believes that the transaction has been completed; however, the bank has 30 days to investigate whether the cheque is genuine. If this is not the case, it is down to the payee to reimburse the bank for the funds mistakenly allocated to their account.

This is obviously a double whammy to jobseekers: not only have they been scammed out of their time and conned into providing free labour but also they now owe the bank the total sum of the monies wrongly paid to them. It seems unfair, but the law states that you are liable for any fraudulent cheque paid into your account.

While sites such as ZipRecruiter will understandably be disappointed that their name has been brought into disrepute in this way, it is the jobseeker who ultimately loses out. The websites will, of course, remove fake postings and ban fraudulent accounts; however, by then, the damage has usually been done. Websites are issuing warnings to users and encouraging them to be vigilant and report any suspicious job offers or behaviour.

For those simply looking to work for their money, it can be soul destroying to learn that they have been scammed in such a devious and underhand way. Do not let yourself be the next victim.

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