As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough, it seems scammers have begun preying upon some of the most vulnerable and desperate:  unemployed job seekers.

A few weeks ago, I fielded a call from a client, who had an influx of angry job seekers complaining about its hiring practices. It turns out that scammers were monitoring job search websites, such as Career Builder, LinkedIn, and Indeed, and contacting job seekers who had posted resumes. The scammers then emailed the job seekers about fully remote jobs with generous benefits that paid $35/hour for little to no experience.

Applicants were told that the company wanted to schedule an interview with them “right now if possible,” and that they must use or create a Gmail account to download a Google hangout, then invite the recruitment manager—who was “expecting to hear from [the applicant] soon”—to the Google hangout. The scammers were hoping the applicants would respond, which would allow them to phish, or force the applicants to reveal personal information.

Of course, for those of us who are regularly involved with hiring, this is a very unusual interview process. Interviews never occur “right now”! And entry level jobs rarely are fully remote with a generous hourly wage and full benefits package. However, those that are unemployed during the pandemic may be so eager to have such a plum opportunity in reach that they ignore what should be obvious red flags.

For those employers finding themselves in the unfortunate position of being impersonated, there are several steps you may take to report such conduct, such as filing reports with Career Builder, Indeed, LinkedIn, Gmail, your local police department, the FBI, the BBB, the FTC’s Anti-Phishing Workgroup, and possibly your state Attorney General’s office.

Job seekers, remember the old adage—if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.