Job seekers remain targeted by scams despite economic conditions improving

Experts are warning job seekers to keep an eye out for fake ads when looking for employment, citing a recent scam which had one of them convinced she had to pay thousands of dollars and possibly going to jail for allegedly not paying her taxes.

Vancouver, Canada-based Susan Kihn, one of the talent experts at CareerMine, the leading website for mining jobs and professional development, was recently contacted by someone posing as a Canada Revenue Agency officer, who left a message on her office phone asking her to call him back urgently.

As soon as Kihn phoned the number indicated and to her surprise, she was told she was being investigated for tax evasion and the alleged officer proceeded to read out a long list of what the process would be. He also told her not to talk or interrupt him, and that the call was being recorded.

Experts recommend job seekers to exercise extreme due diligence with any company offering employment that does not have a physical address where they reside.

“All the time he spoke, my mind was racing, was it possible I owed taxes? Was it possible? Could I have made a mistake somehow? How come nobody had ever contacted me before?” Kihn writes. “I tried arguing but was cut short and made to feel that if I did not oblige with this officer that I would end up in jail.”

But Kihn knew better. She asked the person for a number to call him back and then she contacted Canada Revenue Agency, which confirmed what she already suspected: it was just a fraudulent scheme.

Unfortunately, sophisticated scams like this one are not an isolated case. Victims are not as well informed in these matters as the CareerMine expert either.

Earlier this year, Calgary police warned that at least five victims had lost approximately $12,000 to fake online job postings only from January to March. All of them had replied to online job ads and then received messages stating a cheque with instructions has been sent by courier.

The victims were told to cash the cheques and wire some of the funds to a person or place, but the cheques were counterfeit.

Experts such as Kihn recommend job seekers to exercise extreme due diligence with any company offering employment that does not have a physical address where they reside.

Legitimate companies will not provide up-front payment to employees without services rendered, they note.

They also advise to ensure you meet potential employers in person before providing any personal information and that you do not do transactions via e-transfer with anyone that you do not know personally, or that you haven’t confirmed is a legitimate business.

For more information and tips, please visit CareerMine’s employment advice section.