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Employment scam gets a high-tech upgrade

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 11:46:24-04

Feeling violated and embarrassed, but Beth Reuter is far from alone. She's one of dozens of people reporting employment scams in Arizona so far this year.

After applying to a job posting online, Beth says an automated email asked her to download an app. While suspicious, she chalked it up to new norms in the remote workplace. But Toni Frana, Career Services Manager with FlexJobs, warns apps are the latest scam tool targeting job seekers.

"What has been identified as a new scam is getting people to share personal information through an app like that. And then a scammer can take that information and basically do whatever they want with it," Frana warned.

But the job hunt can be exhausting, so Beth stayed optimistic. After downloading an app, she was immediately contacted by someone posing as a recruiter. However, Beth says the conversation turned 'odd', so she turned to the internet. She searched the company, job posting, even the recruiter — they all checked out.

Then came an email asking for Beth's direct deposit information before she'd even accepted a job. Beth says that confirmed her worst fears, "That's when I knew this was a scam."

Immediately deleting the app and blocking all contact, Beth reported the potential scam to the Better Business Bureau.

"If you're a little more desperate to get employment, you can just easily overlook things because you're just hoping that the situation is going to work out for you," she said.

One step Beth didn't take, which Frana recommends, is calling a company's Human Resource Department directly to confirm the job position or interview process.

See other ways to protect yourself and how scammers target job seekers here.