Scammers Are Sending Fake Job Offers on LinkedIn

Fraudsters are impersonating real HR employees in fictitious job offers sent on LinkedIn, in a dubious scheme to get targets to share banking data.
January 19, 2021, 2:00pm
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Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

Scammers are sending fake job offers to people on LinkedIn, impersonating real HR employees in an attempt to lure victims to share banking information.

In December, videographer Luigi Benvisto received two unsolicited messages on LinkedIn from recruiters claiming to work for Decathlon, a sports store, and DB Schenker, a logistics company.

"We think you have terrific experience as a Video Editor. I'd love to invite you to interview with us," read a message from someone purporting to work for DB Schekner, which Benvisto shared with Motherboard.

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Once Benvisto followed up, the recruiter sent him a PDF with the job description. Oddly, the document asked him to visit a portal and register a "valid bank account for payroll functions." Similarly, another recruiter purporting to work for Decathlon approached him and sent him a PDF that used the same language about registering with a "valid bank account for payroll functions."

"It’s a well made scam, but I reached out to the HR people on LinkedIn to double check because my guts were saying that something was wrong," Benvisto told Motherboard in an email. 

Benvisto was suspicious, so he searched for the names of the alleged employees and found them on LinkedIn. He messaged them and both of them confirmed that they did not in fact reach out to offer him a job.

"Please be careful and don't trust these people," the real DB Schenker employee told Benvisto, according to a transcript of their conversation shared by Benvisto. 

Do you know of any similar scams or frauds? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at lorenzofb@jabber.ccc.de, or email lorenzofb@vice.com

A LinkedIn spokesperson said that “fake jobs or fake profiles are a violation of our terms of service. Our teams use multiple automated techniques, coupled with human reviews and member reporting to take swift action to remove fake jobs and companies, as well as prevent them from being created. You can see the latest on our work in this area in our Transparency Report."

"If members do suspect a company or job on LinkedIn is fake, they can easily report it by contacting us here and we will move quickly to investigate,” the spokesperson said in an email. 

The job market keeps struggling because of COVID-19, with almost 7 percent of Americans out of a job, and unemployment claims continue to go up. This presents a good opportunity for scammers to exploit people who are out of a job—though it underlines how ruthless fraudsters can be.

Last week, Nidhi Razdan, a well-known TV journalist in India, revealed that someone impersonated Harvard University representatives and offered her a job as an Associate Professor of Journalism. Months after accepting the fraudulent job offer, she reached out to Harvard University authorities and realized the job offer never actually existed.  

Scammers are everywhere, but there haven't been many examples of LinkedIn frauds, at least not sophisticated enough to impersonate real employees. As usual, be wary of unsolicited messages and don't share any personal or financial information unless you are sure you're talking to the right person.