Employment scams have plagued the job market for years, causing headaches for applicants and organizations alike. These scams are perpetrated by fraudsters attempting to take advantage of job seekers by pretending to be employees or representatives of well-established organizations in order to obtain personal or financial information from the victim.
The bad actors utilize various methods, including impersonating legitimate organizations, gathering personal information via fraudulent employment applications, or asking for banking information as part of job offers. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in an unprecedented rise in employment scams, as threat actors leveraged the remote work environment to exploit job seekers.
Most recently, layoffs across multiple industries throughout 2022 have coincided with increased efforts by threat actors to target job seekers; ZeroFox Intelligence identified a 30 percent increase in accounts impersonating organizations from Q3 to Q4 in 2022.
Pay-to-play recruitment scams are easy to conduct and are often used to exploit individuals making a career change. Scammers often target prestigious, high-paying industries such as tech, oil and gas, and financial services and pretend to be recruiters.
The tech industry has been particularly hard-hit by layoffs throughout 2022 and into 2023, making its laid-off workers prime targets for employment scams.