Zoom job scams are on the rise — here’s what you need to know
It started with a Facebook post about a job opportunity, and an invitation to interview over Zoom — a familiar experience for many job seekers these days.
The candidate thought it was strange when the interview took place solely over Zoom Team Chat, without a live, face-to-face video call. And when the interviewer began asking about bank account info and promising to send a check for deposit, the candidate’s suspicions were confirmed: they’d been part of an interview scam.
The scenario above is from one of the many recent reports our trust and safety team has received from job seekers. Scammers might use any means of communication, including Zoom, to get valuable info from their intended victims.
While employment scams are on the rise, companies around the world use Zoom to conduct legitimate interviews for all types of positions. How can you tell a job scam from a real employment opportunity? Here’s what to look out for, and some tips for staying safe so you can job search with confidence.
“They told me the interview would be via Zoom chat”
According to many of the reports we received, scammers conducted the interview by chat, then said they would forward the chat conversation to the HR team or company board of directors for review. However, candidates never saw their interviewer over video or spoke with anyone else from the company.
In today’s job market, and especially in the early stages of interviewing, recruiters and hiring managers often communicate with candidates by phone, chat, email, or text — that by itself isn’t unusual. However, if the interviewer refuses to meet face to face or on video at any point in the process, that might be a warning sign that something is off.
“They wanted to send me a check to deposit”
Hiring takes time, so if an interviewer tells you you’re hired during the interview and immediately asks you to complete new hire paperwork and set up direct deposit, that should set off alarm bells.
“My first red flag was when they sent me a new hire contract immediately after the interview and then requested personal information like my mailing address and government-issued IDs for a background check,” one job seeker said. “Then, they wanted to send me a check to deposit into my bank account to purchase the home office equipment I would need.”
If an interviewer presses you to move too quickly, stop and evaluate the situation. We recommend you never share your bank account info or other personal information, like your social security number, over Zoom Team Chat.
“They wanted me to send money for equipment”
A scammer might also ask you to use a money transfer app like Zelle, PayPal, or Venmo, under the guise of purchasing office equipment or supplies that they say you’ll be reimbursed for later.
“The person I was communicating with kept on asking for money for the ‘equipment and delivery,’” said one report.
Be wary of any requests that involve sending money, even if the person sends you a check or says you’ll be reimbursed. A reputable company will not require you to pay money to start or secure a job.
How to spot a job scam
The promise of a new job, especially if you’ve been looking for a while, can make you want to move quickly. But wait — take a few moments to vet the opportunity so you can be sure it’s legitimate.
Double-check the job posting
A common Indeed or LinkedIn scam involves fake job posts that might seem genuine at first glance. When you apply, the scammer will lure you to a fake interview over the phone, Zoom Team Chat, or another platform.
If you spot a job posting for a company you’ve never heard of, with a vague job description and a salary range or perks that seem too good to be true, do your research:
- Check the company’s website to see if the same role is listed there
- Click on the company’s LinkedIn or Indeed profile from the job posting — if the company page is sparse, with little information or followers, that’s a sign it’s a fake
Verify the email address
If you’re communicating with an interviewer over Zoom, look at the person’s email address located on their Zoom profile (hover over their profile picture, then click the “contact” tab).
- Match the domain name of the email address (the part that comes after the @ sign) to the domain name of the company’s website
- Double-check for spelling errors that could indicate a spoofed email, like [email protected]
- Don’t communicate with someone who claims to be from a company but uses a personal email account like [email protected]
Report Zoom interview job scams
If you suspect you were involved in an interview scam on Zoom, reporting it could help prevent others from being scammed. Here are a few places to start:
- Report it to our trust and safety team. Please include information such as screenshots, email addresses of people you spoke with, dates, and times.
- If the scammer pretended to be from a real company, contact that company to let them know.
- If you were scammed by a fake job posting, report the posting to the site where it was listed (like Indeed or LinkedIn).
- Your country’s consumer protection agency — in the U.S., that’s the Federal Trade Commission.
To learn more about how to keep your Zoom meetings safe, and more about how we take action to protect you, visit the Zoom Safety Center.
Doing your due diligence during your job hunt may seem like an unnecessary extra, but unfortunately, in today’s world, it’s essential. Stay safe, and happy hunting!