SALT LAKE CITY — Millennials and Gen Z’ers are finding themselves to be the latest targets of criminal fraud schemes using fake jobs to steal private information and funds.
Experts say that’s because 70% of young adults find jobs online.
One Salt Lake City Gen Z’er said she lost $10,000 after accepting a fake job online.
“I still think even today, I’m mentally not the same. Every time I use my card I get so much anxiety,” she said.
This woman is an employee with FOX 13 News who wishes to keep her identity private. She said she was looking for a remote, part-time job back in September and came across a posting on LinkedIn that looked legitimate.
She said criminals used a real company out of New Jersey and claimed to be real employees listed on the company’s site. She said all paperwork, emails and interactions included the company’s logo and other details that looked official.
The fake application and interview process even took a few weeks. She said she had three interviews over the phone with a woman, but nothing over Zoom.
“Nothing about the interview process would make me think this was a scam. They were asking me all the same questions that I’d have in the past for other jobs,” she said.
She said she received a four-page offer letter along with W-4 and I-9 forms. She filled it all out, including payment paperwork asking for bank information. Days later, she received a notification that $10,000 was withdrawn from her account.
“I went into my account and saw a bunch of zeroes, and that’s when I started panicking,” she said.
She said she contacted the person who hired her and they admitted to taking her money. Unfortunately, her bank was only able to get half her money back.
“I feel like he’s still doing it to so many people which honestly breaks my heart,” she said.
Haywood Talcove with Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions’ government division said there was a huge jump in fake job postings this fall.
The division works with banks and thousands of law enforcement agencies to identify and prevent fraud.
“We saw it go from hundreds to thousands to over 175,000 fake job listings,” he said.
He said cybercriminals typically go after personal information in hopes of making money off government programs and unemployment benefits.
Utah’s Department of Workforce Services says they have an investigative team in place to make sure all claims are legitimate.
“Of all the money that we paid out in 2021, less than a quarter percent of the benefits paid out actually resulted in any kind of identity theft,” said Justin Williams, director of unemployment insurance. “It’s a very, very small number.”
For Utahns job-hunting online, don’t be afraid to be diligent and look closely.
Talcove said fake jobs can be spotted with typos, illegitimate email addresses, or people avoiding phone or video communication. He encourages Utahns to not be afraid to ask questions to verify the job process is official.