A Guide to Recognizing Phony IT Job Candidates

This post is not intended to disclose any confidential or private information. If your personal details, such as your profile, email address and Skype name, have been included in this post, it is likely that you have been a victim of fraud. We strongly recommend taking legal action against the perpetrator.

It is no surprise that phishing is a common occurrence on social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, which are used for finding new employees. Despite this, it is still important to take note of the risks associated with online scams. Recently, the recruitment sector has suffered from a fraud involving fabricated tech candidates, who create false profiles in other people’s names on social sites. Ultimately, it is essential to remain vigilant when using social networks and to be aware of the potential risks.

The con we’re talking about goes something like this in conversation:

Recruiter: Hello Stanica! Is it possible to reach you at this time to discuss the position of MERN Developer?

Stanica: “Yes. Hello, it is nice to meet you. Exactly what is your contact information?

It is highly unlikely that someone would undergo cosmetic surgery and take on a new identity after an interview. It is more probable that this individual may be attempting to con others.

The exchange detailed above is not intended to be an example of the types of frauds that can be encountered through internet recruitment. This is an actual correspondence between Julia Biliawska, a technical recruiter at Works, and an unscrupulous person.

Julia was surprised to discover numerous identical profiles on Skype and LinkedIn, which initially appeared to be genuine but upon further inspection raised a number of concerns.

Julia has undertaken further research in order to identify as many fraudulent operators as possible. She is confident that by making this information public, she can help to protect recruitment businesses from the risks of time, money and reputational damage.

At the end of the article, I have provided links to the profiles of the individuals in question. Although many of the suspected fraudsters have taken down their LinkedIn pages, the remaining ones are still available for reference. To avoid being a victim of fraud, it is important to be informed about the common scams and how to identify them.

(For those who are unaware, The Greenhouse Application is an applicant tracking system.)

Just what exactly is a “Fake Technical Candidate” Scheme? In what ways does it affect your company?

Julia’s experience with Stanica (also known as Baim Agambetov, among other identities and profiles) is an exemplary example of a fraudulent technology candidate.

There Are a Lot of Ways to Get Scammed

  • It has come to our attention that someone is pretending to be a technical support agent and attempting to gain employment with our company via email, phone, or some other form of contact. We urge caution if you receive communications of this nature.
  • A potential fraudster may create a counterfeit LinkedIn profile to present themselves as a suitable candidate for a role at your organisation, providing false information about their employment history, qualifications and other credentials.
  • During the employment process, a con artist would fabricate references and testimonials to fool you into giving them a job.

Phishing scams posed by fraudulent applicants may be damaging to businesses both in the short and long term. Impersonation of a qualified individual in order to gain employment can have serious repercussions for companies.

Your Company Could Be at Risk from a Fake Technical Candidate Scam

  • Money is wasted if a wage is paid yet no work is done.
  • If the hacker is a skilled con artist, he or she may try to steal money from your business by accessing financial information.
  • Because the con artist doesn’t possess the professed abilities, your project will be delayed and you’ll have to pay more to find someone who does.
  • The significant time and effort required to re-initiate the recruitment process following the dismissal of the fraudulent individual cannot be guaranteed to prevent future occurrences.
  • Even if you succeed in apprehending the con artist, it would take a lot of time and money to take legal action against the fraudster.

It is not possible to guarantee a positive outcome without the necessary expertise in the recruitment process. Fortunately, there are specialist recruitment services available that can identify potential fraudsters early on in the process, as well as help you to locate the most suitable and qualified applicants for interview.

A significant quantity of fraudulent applicants were identified by the Works recruitment team. At TrueBliss, we are committed to helping you identify the illegitimate applicants.

Recognizing a Scam Tech Job Candidate and What to Look For

To begin with, they have always given the impression that they are “self-employed.”

If a candidate appears to be highly qualified and experienced, it may be worth reviewing their LinkedIn profile. As they have been operating as a freelancer for the past two to three years, with no details of their work provided, this raises some questions.

In certain instances, we do give them the benefit of the doubt:

  • If they haven’t used LinkedIn in a while, it’s likely that they haven’t kept their profile up to date.
  • It appears that the individual’s profile is in good standing, as they have been engaging with members of various related organizations on LinkedIn. To confirm this, take a look at the “activity” section of their profile. To gain further insight, you can look at their list of connections or add them if the profile is restricted. If you have any queries, it is advised to conduct further research.

Their Inactivity on LinkedIn Speaks Volumes.

It is recommended to take note of sparse LinkedIn pages with few recommendations or endorsements. These pages usually only contain dates of hire and termination. Additionally, it is likely that the individual’s network will be populated with uninteresting contacts.

If you see such a profile, you should investigate more. Learn more about the candidate by having a conversation with them in real time.

Dmytro “Lee” from the Ukraine attended Beijing University and graduated with a degree.

Certainly, we appreciate a variety of profiles here at Works. However, a profile for Dmytro Lee from Ukraine who earned a technical degree in Beijing is an unusual combination which raises some cause for concern. We would suggest exercising caution when considering this profile.

We kindly advise against engaging with individuals whose profiles appear to be questionable. For instance, a Ukrainian-Chinese individual with 131 contacts is likely a hoax and should be avoided. If you notice an unusual combination of name, location and/or educational background, we recommend researching the individual’s legitimacy before engaging further. It is unlikely that a single person would have such a diverse range of experience and qualifications.

Those Protracted Emails They Keep Sending You

A scammer would not be providing an appropriate response by sending you a history of the Spanish Flu when you requested a résumé and a time to talk.

For a second, let’s revisit Stanica. Here is a copy of an email Julia got from him that was captured on screen.

Stanica’s “Thanks for your nice letter” response is an indication that you may want to move directly to the greeting “Hi Client” without further hesitation. Candidates who are caught off-guard would not usually send emails like this.

Regarding Julia, “Nikola” completely disregarded her and instead wrote a simple “how are you today?” as if they were conversing in real time.

A review of the other conversations which raised suspicion of potential fraudsters was conducted, and subsequent investigations confirmed these suspicions.

  • Most of the time, grammatical accuracy is lacking.
  • Communication among them differs from that which is usually found in their region. While it is not common, there have been occasions when an individual might have an unconventional accent or employ a distinct writing style.
  • It is important to remember that simply asking “How was your weekend?” may not always be appropriate. Before making any assumptions, it is advisable to contact the person directly in order to determine the best way to proceed.

Additionally, someone going by the name “Nikola” has been exposed as a Serbian imposter. In this way:

Scammers may be easily uncovered with the use of email monitoring software. Only if they haven’t altered their own privacy settings may this happen.

The program can further reveal if emails have been viewed from multiple locations. It can ascertain the geographical location associated to the recipient’s IP address, which suggests that Julia’s email may have been forwarded or accessed by multiple users. It is possible that fraudsters may be utilizing a Virtual Private Network (VPN), however, this would indicate that they are attempting to conceal their identity. In any case, when managing suspected fraud, it is likely that a group of people may be involved.

What’s the digits? No. Please Skype me.

If you request their contact details, they may suggest using Skype. It is common for scammers to do this, as it is easy to provide a false phone number rather than disclosing their actual location. If they are particularly savvy, they may even provide a fake number, as the service provider would take responsibility for this.

It is acceptable to use video chats such as Skype and Zoom, however we recommend that you request for telephone numbers for additional security. Can you provide an explanation for this? If a promise is made to provide the number at a later date, then this could be an issue.

It’s also worth mentioning that they may not offer you their phone number, but instead ask for yours and ring you up via some kind of program.

They Refuse to Discuss Their Capabilities

That doesn’t mean they can’t understand technology. The more explicit your queries get (about their experience), the more awkward they will seem.

It is advisable to provide details following a call. Using the phrase “I can email you the paperwork with all my projects” is often associated with those engaging in fraudulent activities. Therefore, this should be avoided when responding to interview questions.

When asked specific technical questions, several applicants hung up. It’s no surprise that they turned out to be con artists.

“Hola,” a German programmer says in Spanish

Be aware that scammers from outside the country may not be fluent in the local language, however their accent can be a giveaway. Pay attention to the tone of their voice, as their native language and accent can be a telltale sign of their origin.

Despite a candidate’s potential to appear to be fraudulent, the Works recruitment team will always contact them. It is only by speaking to them or seeing them that one can be certain of their authenticity. Any indications of fraudulence can be identified by recognizing their accent and noticing any evasive responses to questions.

Remember That Not Every Suspect Is a Crook

The Works recruiting team has observed a trend which the details outlined above allude to. Before concluding that a profile is fraudulent, it is recommended to carry out further investigation.

Once warning signs appear, it is time to begin scheduling interviews, whilst monitoring the profiles regularly to ensure that no drastic changes have been made – as was the case with Stanica. It is essential to verify that all information is accurate and that some preliminary research is conducted in order to guarantee accuracy.

Here at Works, we get it because,

  • Names and surnames that are widespread or uncommon in one country may be unknown to someone from another.
  • Identifying instances of improper English use is very contextual and dependent on the individual’s proficiency.
  • The human population is continually evolving, with individuals expanding their linguistic capabilities by learning new languages. Consequently, basing hiring decisions solely upon a person’s name, address, and educational background is not an effective method and could lead to undesirable outcomes.

Con Artists Foiled by the Works’ Recruitment Team

Utilizing a specialized remote recruitment service such as Works may be beneficial in order to prevent your company from falling victim to any fraudulent activity from IT applicants. With the experience of a professional recruiter, there is a greater likelihood of such fraudsters being identified, and thus shielding your business from the potential consequences of a poor hiring decision.

The following are the Skype names of the fraudsters that the Works recruiting team identified.

Disclaimer:

Works is committed to protecting confidential information and takes this matter very seriously. If your personal details, such as your profile, email address or Skype name, have been exposed through this post we recommend that you take legal action against the perpetrator.

live:.cid.128d0a4d51427ab1 said to be Bohdan Sydorenko‘s property

live:ca765c49af7e77e1 said to be Sreten Petrovic’s property (profile deleted)

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs