Cybercrimes have been on the increase lately with recruitment fraud a major stream, affording cybercriminals ease of access to personal information and money. The high rate of unemployment in Nigeria and the improved Internet penetration have created more channels for job-seekers to hunt for jobs online, making more people susceptible scams. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, approximately 37 per cent of the Nigerian labour force is currently unemployed. The NBS has recorded a steady increase in unemployment rate from 2018 to date; 23.1 per cent in 2018 to 33.3 per cent in 2020 with an estimated rate that increased to 37.7per cent in 2022. KPMG, a multinational consulting firm, in a report titled, ‘KPMG Global Economy Outlook report, H1 2023,’ projected that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria would increase to 40.6 per cent in 2023. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, approximately 37 per cent are currently unemployed. The NBS has recorded a steady increase in unemployment rate from 2018 to date; 23.1 per cent in 2018 to 33.3 per cent in 2020 with an estimated rate that increased to 37.7per cent in 2022. KPMG, a multinational consulting firm, in a report titled, ‘KPMG Global Economy Outlook report, H1 2023,’ projected that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria would increase to 40.6 per cent in 2023. In a journal titled “An Intelligent Model for Online Recruitment Fraud Detection” by Bandar Alghamdi and Fahad Alharby, revealed that in the last decade, modern organisations have widely deployed the internet and social media in employee recruitment. According to the report, recently, the cloud was integrated into the procedure of recruiting new members, where managed cloud services or solutions are used by human resource managers. “Nevertheless, there are many violating risk threats increased by scams and frauds along with the wide interest and adopting of such embedded software,” it noted. The report stated that cybercrime was one of the current risky crimes that face the world and threaten individuals’ and organisations’ security causing substantial losses. Based on the cybersecurity ventures report 2021, the cost of cybercrime damages in the world was around $6tn annually.
Thus, there is an urgent need for information security to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability to combat these crimes. You avoid falling victim to recruitment scams through the implementation of the information security strategies such as prevention, detection, and response. A cybersecurity engineer, Precious Olives, noted that active jobseekers need to be extremely vigilant and cautious when it comes to identifying and avoiding online recruitment scams. With the rise of the digital age, he said that scammers have become increasingly intelligent with their schemes and were always finding new and inventive ways to lure unsuspecting victims into their traps. Therefore, it is crucial for job-seekers to arm themselves with the right tools and knowledge to stay safe and avoid falling prey to these nefarious schemes. The cybersecurity engineer stated that a recruitment scam is when cyber fraudsters pretend to be potential employers or recruitment agencies, tricking job-seekers into giving them money or personal information, adding that it is important to know how to identify recruitment scams so that one does not get tricked. When it comes to identifying and avoiding online recruitment scams, Olives said there are a number of key factors to keep in mind.
“Be careful of job offers that seem too good to be true – like getting a high-paying job without even having an interview. Be suspicious of emails or messages that ask for your personal information, like your bank account information, pins, and so on. Look out for spelling or grammatical errors in emails or messages – real employers and recruitment agencies usually do not make these kinds of mistakes. If you are not sure if an offer or message is real, you can always ask colleagues in the same field who have an idea of both salary structure and role ideas,” he explained. Olives also encouraged jobseekers to always research the company requesting their service to be sure they are authentic, adding that they should be wary of recruitment websites that ask for money upfront or require them to submit personal information without providing any real job opportunities.jobseeker. He added that before applying for any job through a website, a jobseeker should research the website and the company thoroughly to ensure it is legitimate. “If you are being pressured to make a decision quickly, without the opportunity to ask questions or conduct proper research, it could be a sign of a fraudulent scheme. Take your time and ensure that you understand everything before making any commitment. Watch out for emails that appear to be from legitimate companies, but have suspicious or unusual requests such as providing your personal information or banking details. Always verify the authenticity of emails by checking the sender’s email address, the message’s content, and any links that might be included. “If a job offer is extended to you without any form of interview or screening process, it is a major red flag. Always make sure you have spoken with a representative of the company before accepting any offer. Lastly, always trust your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. If a recruiter or job offer seems too good to be true, it is best to walk away and continue your search elsewhere. Remember, it is important to protect your personal Ways to avoid online recruitment scams information online and be cautious of anyone who asks for it,” he asserted. According to Kaspersky, a cybersecurity company, fake jobs have been around for centuries but the internet, social networks, cryptocurrencies, and, of late, the upsurge in remote working has increased recruitment fraud. To identify online recruitment scams, Kaspersky gave this advice in a blog post:
Actively use phishing
It is common for fake HR employees to correspond from accounts resembling corporate addresses, but which are actually hosted on phishing domains or free e-mail like Gmail. Anti-phishing tips can help you recognise a situation where a job questionnaire or the job advert itself is posted on a fraudulent site mimicking an official brand site. Of course, it is hard to constantly be on the alert and check links and addresses, especially when you are already getting dizzy about this “dream job”. That is why you should delegate the task of tracking phishing links to a specially tailored tool that will warn you if you are trying to follow a malicious link and block it.
Leech off famous brands
Maybe a recruiting or consulting company is hiring you to work for a large, prestigious company, or even a government department. This does happen, but it is important to check that the recruiters actually work at the company and that at least one interview involves employees of the company itself. It is worth checking out the reputation of the employer and recruiter. You can search the internet for a combination of “recruiter name” + “scammer” or “employer company” + “recruitment fraud” or “recruiting company name” + “reviews”. It also makes sense to check the jobs section of the brand’s website to ensure the job you are offered is there.
Request for money
This is the fundamental and most important rule. No matter what the payment is called —prepayment for equipment, training fees, purchase of certification materials, a registration fee, or security deposit — the requirement to invest your own money is the biggest, clearest sign that you are being “hired” by fraudsters.
Less demanding recruitment process
If you landed a relatively challenging and high-paying job at your first interview, there is reason to think twice. Extremely tight hiring and onboarding deadlines are also suspicious. Watch out for seemingly good jobs that do not have significant requirements for the applicant’s seniority, experience, and qualifications.
How to prevent online recruitment fraud
Identify how the employer reached you The answer to this question is also important, as an attractive and unexpected job offer received when you are not searching for one is in itself suspicious. If you are really looking for work and put your resume and contact information on job sites, scammers may be knocking on your door alongside honest employers. Be on your guard.
Do not give out personal information in advance
The employment contract is usually signed on your first day at work. If you are asked for detailed smidgen personal information in advance, including bank details, you are better off simply not giving it.
Consult someone you trust
Show the vacancy and the recruiter’s correspondence to someone you trust. They might notice something you’ve missed. A second opinion is always useful even if there’s just the tiniest drop of doubt in your mind.
Double-check your future employer
Perhaps you know someone already working for the employing company. Ask about the company and talk to the people there you are friendly with. If they do not know your “recruiter”, or if the company is not hiring at all for the position you are being asked to interview for, you need to double down on your vigilance.