Job scams surge 118% in 2023, fueled by AI

AI tools 'refine the 'pitch' to make it more believable' and 'compensate for cultural and grammar differences in language usage'

Job scams surge 118% in 2023, fueled by AI

Employment scams experienced a dramatic increase last year, as criminals leveraged artificial intelligence to exploit unsuspecting job seekers, according to experts.

Reports of job scams surged by 118% in 2023 compared to the previous year, as detailed in a CNBC article, citing a recent report by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).

Scammers typically pose as recruiters, posting fake job listings to attract applicants and then steal valuable personal information during the so-called “interview” process.

These fraudulent job postings often appear on reputable websites such as LinkedIn and other job search platforms, making it difficult for job seekers to differentiate between legitimate opportunities and scams, says the report.

The average victim of these scams loses about $2,000, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in the CNBC article. In 2022 alone, consumers reported losing a staggering $367 million to job and business opportunity scams, an increase of 76% year over year.

Job scams on the rise

While job scams account for only 9% of total identity scams in 2023, they are recognized as an "emerging" threat. Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the ITRC, explained, “Job scams have been around since there were jobs, but they’ll continue to grow because of a number of external factors that are occurring.”

One of these factors is the advancement of AI technology, which allows scammers to craft more convincing job listings and recruitment messages, said CNBC.

“AI tools help refine the ‘pitch’ to make it more believable as well as compensate for cultural and grammar differences in language usage,” the ITRC report stated.

Additionally, the rise of remote work during the pandemic has made workers more comfortable with digital-only interactions. This shift has created new vulnerabilities, as job seekers may never meet a recruiter in person and may only interact through text or messaging apps like WhatsApp.

In the CNBC article, Velasquez noted this as a “big red flag,” especially for new graduates, immigrants, or others new to the U.S. workforce who might find such processes normal.

Tactics used by scammers

Scammers often push job seekers for money during the hiring process. They might send an invoice for advance payment of on-the-job equipment or job training, promising reimbursement that never comes.

Additionally, scammers frequently ask for personal information—such as a driver’s license, Social Security number, or bank account details—under the guise of filling out employment paperwork, said the CNBC report.

“Scammers will promise you a great job, but what they really want is your money and your personal information,” warned New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez in a consumer alert.

Job seekers should be cautious about handing over personal information until after receiving and accepting a job offer. Velasquez emphasized that while this can serve as a screen for legitimacy, it doesn’t guarantee safety in all cases.

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