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Job Scams Surge 118% in 2023 - How to Protect Yourself

An illustration depicting job seekers interacting with AI-powered recruitment tools, highlighting the rise of job scams, including fake job listings, scammers posing as recruiters, and warnings about sharing personal information, emphasizing the role of AI in these scams

Job Scams Surge 118% in 2023 - How to Protect Yourself

Employment scams have surged dramatically, with a 118% increase in 2023 compared to the previous year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). Scammers have been leveraging artificial intelligence to steal personal and financial information from job seekers.

How Scammers Operate

Scammers pose as recruiters or post fake job listings to lure applicants. They often use reputable websites like LinkedIn, making it difficult to distinguish legitimate opportunities from fraudulent ones. During the fake interview process, they collect sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers and financial account details, which can lead to identity theft.


  • $367 million lost to job and business opportunity scams in 2022, a 76% increase from the previous year.

  • The average victim lost $2,000.

Contributing Factors

AI Advancements:

  • AI helps scammers create more believable job listings and recruitment messages.

  • AI tools improve the “pitch” by refining language and compensating for cultural differences.

Rise of Remote Work:

  • The pandemic era has made digital-only transactions more common.

  • Job seekers may only interact with recruiters via text or WhatsApp, which can be a red flag.

Common Tactics

Scammers might:

  • Push for advance payment for job equipment or training, promising reimbursement that never comes.

  • Ask for personal information upfront under the guise of filling out employment paperwork.

  • Send fake checks, asking victims to send back leftover money.

Red Flags and Prevention Tips

Be Cautious:

  • Don’t rely solely on well-known job platforms for security.

  • Verify the company's existence and current hiring status independently.

  • Be wary of unsolicited job offers. Contact companies directly using verified information.

Application Process:

  • Only basic personal information is needed initially: name, phone number, job and education history, and perhaps email and home address.

  • Digital-only interactions can be a red flag, though phone calls aren’t always secure either.

Too Good to Be True:

Be skeptical of job ads that offer 100% remote work with high salaries and few requirements.

Expert Advice

ITRC President and CEO Eva Velasquez emphasizes that job scams are an emerging threat, exacerbated by external factors like AI advancements and the normalization of remote work. Job seekers should be vigilant and not provide personal information until a job offer is received and accepted.

Protective Measures:

  • Independently verify job offers and companies.

  • Avoid providing personal information too early in the hiring process.

  • Be cautious of job listings that seem too good to be true.


Job scams, fueled by AI, are on the rise. By being aware of red flags and taking preventative measures, job seekers can protect themselves from falling victim to these scams. Always verify job offers independently and be cautious of requests for personal information or upfront payments.

For more information and tips on how to protect yourself from job scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website or the Identity Theft Resource Center.