FBI warns El Pasoans of rising hiring scams

El Paso News

El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The Federal Investigations Bureau warned the public Thursday morning of how scammers have been using the COVID-19 pandemic to reel in victims. One of the biggest spikes, hiring scams.

A hiring scam is when a criminal will act as an employer with a job offer. Through the hiring process,’ the criminal gathers the victim’s personal information.

The FBI, expressed, personal information obtained from the victims can be used to take over the victim’s accounts or using their identity.

“Scammers are leveraging the pandemic to steal your money, your identity, or both,” Special agent Terrance Gass told KTSM.

According to the FBI, more than 21-million dollars have been lost from victims who fell for fraudulent hiring so far this year.

Twenty one of those victims who have reported loss of 48-thousand dollars come from El Paso.

Special Agent Terrance Gass told KTSM it’s best that job hunters do their research.

“Keep in mind that criminals are going to go to extra lengths to conceal their true identities, however, you just need to be diligent in you research efforts to verify that the company that is trying to offer you the job listing,” said Gass.

He explained, one El Pasoan lost more than 20-thousand dollars, for what they thought was an online job in architectural services.

“Scammer will exploit anything that will help them be more successful in their scam, with the outbreak of COVID-19, scammers are preying on people’s fears,” Grass explained.

Signs to look out for:

  • Interviews not conducted in person or through secure video call.
  • Teleconference applications that use email addresses instead of phone numbers.
  • Potential employers contact victims through non-company email domains.
  • May require employees to purchase startup equipment.
  • Request of credit card information.
  • Job postings that appear on job boards but not company websites.
  • Recruiters or managers do not have profiles on the job board, or their profile does not fit their roles.

If you are a victim of a hiring scam, the FBI recommends taking the following actions:

  • Report the activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or your local FBI field office, which can be found online at www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices.
  • Report the activity to the website in which the job posting was listed.
  • Report the activity to the company the cybercriminals impersonated.
  • Contact your financial institution immediately upon discovering any fraudulent or suspicious activity and direct them to stop or reverse the transactions.
  • Ask your financial institution to contact the corresponding financial institution where the fraudulent or suspicious transfer was sent.

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