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Business Consumer Alliance Blog

Virtual Job Interview Scams

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Today’s job market and how employees are recruited has changed dramatically. Advances in technology make it easy for companies to conduct virtual interviews when seeking new hires. But before you accept that interview invitation, check out our suggestions on spotting a virtual job scam.

Scammers have really stepped up their game. They are notorious for posting fake employment offers on real job sites, such as LinkedIn. They have also elevated their schemes by conducting online interviews to defraud unsuspecting victims. These scam interviews are all a ruse to make the offer appear legitimate and to get the job seeker to let their guard down. This makes things hard for job seekers looking for employment and real recruiters looking for job candidates.

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Spotting these scams takes some knowledge and we’re here to give it to you. Let's cover how these virtual scams work and then offer suggestions on how to avoid falling prey to a scammer. First, scammers send out messages offering jobs. They stalk real job sites for job seekers who post their resumes or that are actively seeking job opportunities. The message usually states that you’re the perfect candidate to work for their company and you have just what they are looking for. The messages may come via email, text, voice mail, or through social media. Scammers often use the name of real businesses and authentic looking logos in their communications to make them appear authentic. The invitations prompt you to schedule a virtual interview or a series of interviews, followed by a lucrative job offer.

After the offer comes the HR paperwork where they ask for personal information, including your Social Security number, driver’s license or identification information, bank account number, or other personal data. Many go so far as to send a “signing bonus” check, but later requests a portion of the generous check to be sent back in cash, by money transfer (such as Paypal or Zelle) CashApp, Chime, or via gift card. They may claim the money is needed to cover the cost of a company laptop, phone, or other work device.

In reality it is all a scheme that identity thieves use to get your information and commit fraud. The “recruiter” is just a scammer playing their role in stealing your information. Here are a few tips to avoid falling for a bogus job offer:

  • Watch out for anyone that sends you a job offer out the blue.
  • If the recruiter emails you from a personal email (like or, not a company account, this is a clear indication it’s a scam.
  • A legitimate job offer does not require you to send money. If the recruiter or anyone involved in the offer asks you to pay for anything (a computer, mobile device, training materials, etc.) don’t do it, it’s a scam.
  • Guard your personal information and never give it to anyone that asks for your details up-front. With access to personal identification and banking information, these scammers can cause financial ruin for their victims. It is oftentimes very difficult to recover from identity theft.
  • If you are unsure if the job offer is legitimate, check with the company using their official phone number or website--not the one supplied by the recruiter. Reach out to the company directly and ask about the offer.

Reporting Scams

If you suspect that you’ve encountered a job scam, report it. You can file a complaint with Business Consumer Alliance (BCA). You should also contact the administrator of the website or social media platform to report your experience if the job offer originated there.  Another option is to file a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission. Make sure to follow BCA on Facebook to stay updated on scam alerts, consumer tips, and trending industry topics.

About Business Consumer Alliance Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.