Building a Digital Defense Against Job Verification Scams


In Oregon, the FBI has been receiving more and more reports from people getting scammed as they try to apply for jobs or unemployment benefits. The reports, from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, show that bad actors are targeting victims who are already in financially difficult situations.

Many businesses and government agencies use private, third-party companies to verify that you are really you. The goal is to cut down on fraud. These verification companies are legitimate, but fraudsters, of course, are gaming the system.

In one scenario, the bad actor posts a fake job online and directs you to the verification company. You complete the process, and the bad actor comes back and asks for your login or verification info to finish processing your application. He accesses the account and uses your profile to apply for unemployment in one or more states.

In another scenario, the bad actor posts a job online and directs you to what appears to be a legitimate verification company but one that is, in fact, fake. Again, he harvests your information and goes about committing all kinds of identity crimes.

How do you protect yourself?

  • Make sure you the job you are applying for is real. Research the company, and call a publicly available number to confirm that it is.
  • Make sure that the verification company you are dealing with is legitimate. Research the company. Know exactly what information is required, how that company will communicate with you, and what are the official channels through which it will communicate.
  • Be wary of social media contacts that ask for information to “verify your identity.” Legitimate companies will not ask for your highly personal or financial information this way. 

If you are the victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.  

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