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LinkedIn job scams take advantage of job seekers

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013 4:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 1:33 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO — If you are looking for a new job, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns job seekers to beware of growing LinkedIn scams. LinkedIn is an open communication website that has made it easy for scammers posing as job recruiters to take advantage of users looking for new opportunities.

More than other social media websites, LinkedIn is appealing to job seekers because it allows them to be contacted by potential employers or recruiters. Scammers create fake profiles disguising themselves as recruiters and send messages that contain a link to gather personal information. The website that the link goes to may look legitimate but often asks for financial information and personal identity. That Information is then used to steal your identity, access bank accounts or install malware on your computer.

"These scams will tempt many but it should be noted that legitimate recruiters will never ask you for any banking information," says Steve J. Bernas, president /CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "An example of one of the most recent scams involves the use of attractive female recruiters pitching opportunities to bilingual job seekers."

Bernas states, "Before working with a recruiter do some research to ensure you know who you are dealing with."

Avoid becoming a victim of a LinkedIn scam by following these tips:

• Do not add just anyone on LinkedIn. Before adding someone, check out their profile and connections. If you have doubts about their legitimacy, do not add them. Remember that you will never be asked to pay for a job. If a "recruiter" mentions an opportunity where you must pay for training, block them. A real job will never ask you to pay to work.

• Be wary of work-at-home jobs. Real work-at-home jobs are hard to acquire, so be cautious when you find these postings. Search for the photo of the recruiter. Scammers usually use a fake, generic photo and you can most likely find the photo elsewhere.

• Ask to call them. If a recruiter contacts you via message, request to speak on the phone. If they seem to avoid a phone call, consider that a red flag.

If you find yourself a victim of the scam, act fast. If a scammer was able to access your computer, they could have collected your personal information including passwords and banking information. Change your passwords immediately. If you see any strange banking activity, notify your bank.

For more tips on protecting your identity, visit www.bbb.org.

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