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Potential employees looking for remote work say they’ve been targeted by scammers offering them fake jobs: ‘They prey on people who are vulnerable’

Woman looking at job applicationMany people say they’ve been contacted in the past year with a job offer that turned out to be a scam.

Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

  • Scammers are targeting remote job seekers and luring them into fake jobs.
  • Insider spoke to several people who said they were nearly duped into sending away money, believing it was for at-home work equipment. 
  • The financial scam seems to be surging in popularity amid the age of tech layoffs and remote work

When Roberta Barbosa got a job offer from analytics platform Craft.co in July, she was delighted. The business consultant job was high-paying and seemed like the type of role she envisioned amid her career pivot.

A recruiter had approached her on the freelance platform Fiverr, which she had recently joined. 

Despite the fact that the company’s chief technology officer switched an interview from video to a phone at the last minute, Barbosa was subsequently impressed by his technological knowledge, and she quickly accepted the role.

Shortly after signing her employment contract, her positive feelings began to shift.

The company’s CTO informed Barbosa that she would need to front the money to buy her work-from-home computer and monitor, and asked her to send $15,000 over Zelle with promises of reimbursement. 

At the time, Barbosa believed she was speaking to Craft.co’s actual CTO, Artem Litvinov. What she didn’t know was she was falling victim to a financial scam that has seemingly surged in popularity amid the age of tech layoffs and remote work

After Barbosa pushed back on the $15,000 request, the relationship turned tense. “He was furious. All of a sudden, the tone of his voice turned crazy,” Barbosa said. 

Barbosa pleaded with the company’s CEO and CTO to let her out of her employment contract, which they had convinced her was legally binding. 

Eventually, she hired a lawyer who informed her that she was nearly a victim of a financial crime.

“They didn’t get anything from me, but it was a horrific situation,” she said.  

The real Craft.co did not respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Insider spoke with several people who told similar stories: A recruiter approached them with the perfect remote job. After interviewing and accepting the role, they were asked to shell out their own money for equipment, such as computers and monitors, for a remote work set-up, with promises of reimbursement.

Job search platform Indeed advises users to be cautious when pursuing positions that seem too good to be true and to always insist on an in-person or video interview. 

A recent post on LinkedIn about a user falling for a fake job offer at Coinbase spawned thousands of comments from people telling similar stories. 

“They prey on people who are vulnerable,” said Cierra Reid, who believed she was offered a customer success role at a company called Acrolinx before realizing it was a scam. 

Reid said she thought the email address looked legitimate, and the job description matched one posted on the company’s LinkedIn page. 

She agreed to an interview but began feeling uneasy when the company showed her the equipment she would have to purchase before she even scheduled the interview. 

Reid decided to message the hiring manager directly on LinkedIn to confirm the details of the interview.

“He said ‘thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, that email is from someone trying to scam people,'” she said. 

The real company, called Acrolinx, did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Simen Buber, ZipRecruiter’s lead economist, advises applicants to trust their gut.

“If you’re getting the feeling that something just isn’t right, don’t be afraid to listen to your own intuition… You’re not obligated to remain in a situation that makes you uncomfortable.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider