Fake Online Job Interviews Phishing for Your Personal Information
Terminate Before It’s Too Late
WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today issued an Investor Alert warning job seekers that individuals claiming to be involved in the hiring process for legitimate organizations—including FINRA—have turned to Skype and other online video call platforms as a way to phish for your personal information and money. Phishing scammers may also use fraudulent emails or copy-cat websites to get unsuspecting consumers to provide valuable personal information—and then use it to steal their money or identity.
“Scammers attempting to obtain sensitive personal financial information are becoming ever more sophisticated in their tactics, manipulating moments of trust such as a job interview while simultaneously turning trusted tools such as online video platforms into potential weapons of fraud,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Investor Education. “It is important for consumers to know that legitimate companies and employers will not ask you to provide confidential information through non-secure means—and you should never do so unless you are certain the interview is legitimate.”
The FINRA Alert provides some red flags that may signal an online video job interview scam:
- On-the-spot interviews or lack of preparation by hiring personnel leading up to the online video session. Beware of any request to do an online video interview immediately, without any prior contact with you.
- Requests for personal information such as your Social Security number (SSN), credit card information or a bank account number. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and employment experts warn that asking for this type of information is a red flag that may signal job fraud.
- Asking for payment. The FTC states that “Employers and employment firms shouldn’t ask you to pay for the promise of a job.”
- Prompts to download documents or files. Files may contain malware that captures keystrokes or mouse movements, or that even takes control of your webcam. FINRA is aware of at least one situation where someone posing as a FINRA hiring manager asked the interview candidate during a Skype session to download a file that purportedly connected to FINRA’s HR department “via our company server.”
The Alert offers consumer tips to avoid falling victim to an online video job interview scam including:
- Call the company’s human resources department to verify that the company does in fact use Skype or other technologies to conduct interviews remotely, and that the company has scheduled an interview for you on the date for which you receive a request.
- Do an internet search to research the company and HR staff member or recruiter responsible for the job posting.
- Terminate the call immediately if you are asked to provide personal or financial information, or to pay a fee that you did not expect.
FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.