If you’re job hunting at the moment, be on your guard. The pandemic is still around. Lots of people are in need of employment. Scammers are all too happy to string folks along with bogus employment offers, as is the case here.
How have they managed to snare prospective job hunters?
Riding on the coat-tails of giants
Nefarious individuals have been stringing would-be employees along using fake interviews. The fraudsters claim to be well known video game developers. Unfortunately, there are folks out there who’ve already lost out financially. It's likely that they won’t be getting their money back.
These fakers claiming to be HR reps from the impacted organisations weren’t shy about who they impersonated. Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto), Manticore Games (Core) and others were spoofed. Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, have taken legal action over the bogus job offers.
The lawsuit sues “unnamed” individuals for infringement and fraud. According to Polygon, Riot is using the lawsuit to find out more about the scammers before taking further action.
How did the scam work?
Like many bogus job offers, it’s a combination of contacting potential victims or having them respond to fake job postings. Riot mentions that some of its employees are being impersonated to make it all seem more convincing. It’s a safe bet the scammers have harvested some names from social media, such as LinkedIn listings.
Fake interviews would then be conducted on whichever platform the victims had made initial contact through. Discord is mentioned, and we’d be surprised if apps like WhatsApp weren’t also in use. These are patterns that regular readers will be familiar with, such as holding fake interviews on Telegram in Bitcoin scams.
Show me the money
As with the above linked scams, eventually the fakers will ask for money upfront. This is to purchase “work equipment”, which they claim will be refunded back to the victim afterwards. Of course, this doesn’t happen and the victim is out of pocket while the fraudsters vanish with the cash. While alarm bells may ring for many when asked for money upfront, it’s not so easy for younger applicants. A combination of inexperience, a convincing scam, and uncertainty about business practises during pandemic times mean this has a decent chance of succeeding.
Indeed, Riot Games note one victim has already been in touch claiming to have lost money. At this point, we don’t know if the money was wired or sent in the form of digital currency. What we can say for sure is that bogus job offers won’t disappear over the holiday season.
The perils of job hunting online
Unfortunately it’s a tough thing to land a job online. Placing personal data onto resume/job hunt sites can go wrong if the data is scraped or leaked. Many sites will ask you to be as thorough as possible, but this means home addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth all over the place. Once it’s swiped, it’s swiped. You need to carefully assess how much you’re willing to reveal to the world at large in a worst case scenario and act on it appropriately.
Social media makes it easy for anyone to talk to you, but this also means scammers have the same ability. When your data is mined, you end up gravitating towards people with the same likes and interests. This gently nudges many similar fish into one huge digital barrel, and scammers can pick and choose targets at their leisure. We’re not saying people don’t receive genuine job inquiries on social media, but it definitely pays to be careful. Even verified accounts can be compromised, so you can never be 100% sure if that offer is legit.
Time to verify
For something as important as a job offer or interview, we’d suggest asking to speak to a second person at the organisation in question from a valid company email address at the very least. If you’re still not sure, you could always ask a second person from that org on social media if what you’re being sent is the real deal.
You don’t want to be out of pocket at the end of the year thanks to a scammer, so if you’re hunting for a job at the moment we wish you the very best of luck.