“The victim of job scams are the freshers’ who graduate from not-so-reputed institutes and are looking for good opportunities after having spent money”, Ajay Trehan, CEO of AuthBridge
Fake job offers being reported is on a constant rise. With no practical workplaces, and employees interacting with customers face-to-face without supervision, on-demand economy runs with a risk of reputational risks of hiring fraud, unethical candidates with possible criminal background, fake identity or mal-intentions.
Ajay Trehan, Founder, and CEO of AuthBridge, a background checking firm talks about fake job offers, tackling such cases and reason of job scams aggravating in India.
How do candidates get singled out in job scams? How can job seekers protect themselves from being duped in such cases?
Often, the victim of job scams are the freshers’ who graduate from not-so-reputed institutes and are looking for good opportunities after having spent money and time for their education. With lack of exposure & experience, they are an easy target for scamsters who exploit their situation. This doesn’t mean that savvy job hunters are immune to such scams. Considering the current education system of India, the majority of fresher’s are not well skilled which is a big concern. This coupled with social and financial pressure of getting employed serves a catalyst for candidates falling for such scams. Broadly, there are two types of scam – job offer by a fake company or forged offer letters. There are numerous cases and many in recent past where hundreds of candidates were fooled under job scams where they paid hefty amounts to get placed. Many cases that have come out exposes these intricate scams operating with fake websites, fake interviews, counterfeit letterheads and offer letters.
Job seekers need to be more aware and cautious. The world is connected now and a lot of information is available online with forums, news and company details. One simple check is that no genuine recruiter would ask you to pay for hiring you. If there’s any discussion of paying in advance, it’s most likely a fraud. Second, research about the company online – its office locations, its hiring & interview process, its empanelled recruiting partners etc. Most companies have their process mentioned on their website. In case of any doubt, a candidate can get in touch with the company through contacts mentioned on the website.
Why has the job scams aggravated in India? Has it got to do with the employment issue in the country or lookout for better offers?
Fake jobs rackets are increasing, thanks to shrinking jobs in both the private and public sectors, though there are multiple factors in play. India has one of the highest working populations in the world and competition to land a better job is dire. Also, the education system is not producing a skilled workforce. According to the ‘India Skill report 2019’, almost half of the Indian graduates are unemployable and this percentage is highest for engineers and surprisingly increasing for MBA graduates. We also must realize the social pressure of education. Where many suffer from the degree fixation for reputation, marriage, and status, many also have a practical expectation of good jobs. This makes many candidates vulnerable and makes them prey for frauds in name of big MNCs.
Duping in the name of any company might bring some bad name to it. What can companies do to tackle job scams, or what is the solution?
Big companies are used by fake job racketeers to allure their prey because there’s a sense of aspiration attached with working for such companies. Plus sectors like IT, ITES hire in large volumes and various information becomes accessible to manipulate. While it’s a huge hit to careers and morale of job seekers along with financial loss, it is likely damaging the reputation of these companies. Many companies have become wary of these trends but many are still to take strict actions. Companies can be transparent about their job openings, hiring process, recruitment calendar, empanelled partners etc. They must look out for fake websites and social media handles in their names. Today, technology can resolve many authentication concerns like digitally secure offer letters.
Job scams are not reported quite often and yet the number is rising. How does cyber security come into play?
Many job scams like many other crimes go unreported due to lack of proper channels and tedious law & judiciary process. But this is changing as we see more than 3700 incidents being reported till Oct this year in comparison to 1800 same time last year.
Have there been fraud job offers from credible sources? How to spread awareness among people and wave off a potential scam?
It’s important to report and highlight these scams to make people realize the extent of this problem. News about these frauds, candidates’ stories & experiences could be learning for many seekers. Law enforcement is another area to ensure trials and strict punishments for fraudsters. At a macro level, where the education system needs major improvements, such stories can build awareness and sensitize job seekers to be more careful, savvy and diligent while seeking jobs.