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The drive toward remote working has created an opportunity for fraudulent recruitment schemes.

LinkedIn has seen a rise in the level of sophistication used in recruitment scams, according to a report in the Financial Times. The article claims that fraudsters are taking advantage of the trend towards remote working as well as the wave of lay-offs in the tech sector.

Indeed, the world’s largest professional network is witnessing widespread scams as jobseekers on the site are being defrauded out of money after taking part in fake recruitment processes. These scams set up by malefactors who pose as employers in order to obtain personal and financial information from the LinkedIn users.

The scammers are becoming more clever

“There’s certainly an increase in the sophistication of the attacks and the cleverness,” Oscar Rodriguez, vice-president of product management at LinkedIn told the Financial Times. “We see websites being set up, we see phone numbers with a seemingly professional operator picking up the phone and answering on the company’s behalf. We see a move to more sophisticated deception,” he added.

LinkedIn, which is owned by tech giant Microsoft, said it has sought to block tens of millions of fake accounts in recent months, while US regulators warn of an increase in jobs-related cons. Last month, several US companies complained about recruitment scams where the perpetrators approached people through LinkedIn’s direct messaging feature InMail.

An AI powered game of “cops and robbers”

The scammers first identify which companies are actually hiring, then create “lookalike” websites with similar job ads. They then approach the unsuspecting LinkedIn users via the platform’s InMail feature. The victims are then invited to enter personal information into the websites in hopes of obtaining remote interviews via Skype.

“In the past year, [scammers] are now using artificial intelligence to create profile photos that can fool human eyes very easily,” Rodriguez told the Financial Times. He also confirmed that LinkedIn is using its own AI to detect “deepfake generated profile photos”.

According to FT’s reporting, US Federal Trade Commission figures show there were over 92,000 job-related and business scams in 2022. In total, over $367 million was reported lost. This number is down from 105,000 incidents in 2021. The losses from those scams were lower, however, with only $209 million lost.