A Guide to Recognizing Phony IT Job Candidates

It is important to note that this post does not reveal any confidential or private information. If your personal information, such as your profile, email address, and Skype name, have been published in this post, it is likely that you have been targeted by scam artists. We advise you to take legal recourse against the responsible party.

It is not uncommon for social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, which are primarily used for recruitment, to be targeted by phishing scams. However, it is crucial to be aware of the dangers associated with online scams. The recruitment industry has recently been plagued by a scam involving fake tech candidates who create bogus profiles in other people’s names on social media platforms. In essence, it is imperative to maintain vigilance while using social networks and remain cautious about the potential hazards.

Regarding the scam, the scenario is typically outlined as follows:

Recruiter: Hello Stanica! Can you be reached at the moment to discuss a job opportunity for the position of MERN Developer?

Stanica: “Certainly. Hello, nice to meet you. Can you please provide me with your contact details?”

It is improbable for someone to completely alter their identity through cosmetic surgery after an interview. In all likelihood, this individual is attempting to defraud unsuspecting individuals.

It should be noted that the aforementioned exchange is not an isolated case, as internet recruitment is susceptible to a variety of scams. The conversation between Julia Biliawska, a technical recruiter at Works, and an unethical individual is a genuine incident.

Upon conducting a more in-depth review, Julia discovered several identical profiles on Skype and LinkedIn which had previously appeared to be authentic, but raised a number of doubts.

To identify as many deceitful agents as possible, Julia has conducted additional research. Her goal is to safeguard recruitment enterprises from potential harm to their finances, reputation, and time by publicly sharing this information.

Towards the end of the article, there are links to the profiles of the individuals under suspicion. While several of the suspected fraudsters have removed their LinkedIn accounts, a few still remain accessible for review. Being educated about prevalent scams and how to recognise them is critical in avoiding falling prey to fraudulent activity.

(For clarity, the Greenhouse Application refers to an applicant tracking system.)

What is a “Fake Technical Candidate” Scheme and how does it impact your organisation?

Stanica’s (also known as Baim Agambetov and other aliases) encounter with Julia is a clear instance of a deceitful technical candidate.

The Types of Scams are Abundant

  • We have been made aware of an individual impersonating a technical support representative and trying to secure employment with our organisation through email, phone, or other means of contact. Caution is advised if you receive such messages.
  • A potential scammer may fabricate a LinkedIn profile to masquerade as a fitting candidate for a position at your company by furnishing fake details about their work experience, qualifications, and other credentials.
  • As part of the employment process, a fraudster may invent false references and endorsements to deceive you into extending them a job offer.

Deceitful applicants’ phishing scams can have both short- and long-term consequences for businesses. Pretending to be a capable individual to obtain a job can result in severe consequences for companies.

Is Your Company Vulnerable to a Fake Technical Candidate Scheme?

  • Payment for no work done results in wasted funds.
  • A proficient scammer may attempt to pilfer funds from your company by gaining access to financial information.
  • As the fraudster lacks the claimed skills, your project will be postponed, and you’ll have to spend more to hire someone who can complete it.
  • The considerable time and energy expended in restarting the hiring process after terminating the deceitful individual may not ensure the prevention of future incidents.
  • Even if you manage to catch the scammer, bringing legal action against them would require significant time and money.

Achieving a successful outcome in the recruitment process without the requisite expertise is not feasible. However, there are specialised recruitment services available that can detect potential scammers early in the process and assist you in identifying the most fitting and qualified candidates for interviews.

The Works recruitment team discovered a substantial number of bogus candidates. At TrueBliss, we are dedicated to aiding you in identifying deceitful applicants.

How to Identify a Fraudulent Tech Job Candidate and What Indicators to Observe

First and foremost, they have always portrayed themselves as “self-employed.”

If a candidate seems to be extremely competent and experienced, examining their LinkedIn profile may be beneficial. However, if they have been working as a freelancer for the last two to three years without providing any information about their work, it raises concerns.

We do grant them the benefit of the doubt in some cases:

  • It is probable that they haven’t maintained their profile up to date if they haven’t recently used LinkedIn.
  • The person’s profile seems to be in good standing since they have interacted with members of various related organisations on LinkedIn. To verify, check the “activity” section of their profile. To gain more information, you may examine their list of connections or send them a connection request if their profile is restricted. If you have any doubts, it is recommended to conduct additional research.

Their Inactivity on LinkedIn Reveals a Great Deal.

It is advisable to be cautious of LinkedIn profiles that are sparse and lack recommendations or endorsements. Such profiles are often limited to dates of employment and termination. Furthermore, the person’s network is expected to be populated with unremarkable contacts.

If you encounter such a profile, it is recommended to conduct further investigation. Get to know the candidate better by conversing with them in person.

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

At Works, we value diversity when it comes to profiles. However, the profile of Dmytro Lee from Ukraine, who obtained a technical degree from Beijing, is an uncommon combination and may raise some doubts. We suggest being careful when assessing this profile.

We strongly advise against interacting with individuals whose profiles seem questionable. For instance, an individual of Ukrainian and Chinese descent with only 131 connections is most likely a scam and should be avoided. If you come across a profile with an unusual combination of name, location, and/or educational background, we suggest verifying the individual’s credibility before proceeding further. It is improbable for a single person to have such a broad spectrum of abilities and qualifications.

The Lengthy Emails They Continue to Send You

If you inquire about a CV and a meeting time, a fraudster would not answer by sending you a detailed account of the Spanish Flu.

Let’s go back to Stanica for a moment. Here is a screenshot of an email Julia received from him.

The fact that Stanica begins his email with “Thanks for your nice letter” shows that you should feel confident in moving straight to the greeting “Hi Client” without any hesitation. Job seekers who are unprepared will not typically send emails with this type of opening.

In Julia’s case, “Nikola” ignored her completely and instead wrote a plain “how are you today?” as if they were having a face-to-face conversation.

After reviewing other conversations that aroused suspicion of possible scammers, subsequent investigations confirmed these doubts.

  • Often, there is a lack of grammatical accuracy.
  • Their communication style differs from that which is typical in their region. Although it is not common, there have been instances where an individual might have an atypical accent or use a distinct writing approach.
  • It is essential to keep in mind that asking “How was your weekend?” may not be appropriate in all cases. It’s recommended to get in touch with the person directly to ascertain the most appropriate course of action before drawing any conclusions.

Furthermore, an individual with the alias “Nikola” has been revealed as a Serbian impersonator. Hence:

Email monitoring software can easily identify scammers. However, this is only possible if they have not modified their privacy settings.

Moreover, the program can detect if emails have been accessed from different locations. By examining the recipient’s IP address, it can determine their geographical location, which suggests that Julia’s email may have been forwarded or accessed by various users. It is plausible that scammers are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide their identity. However, this implies that they are attempting to conceal their identity. Nevertheless, it is likely that a group of individuals are involved in managing suspected fraud.

What’s the number? No. Please contact me on Skype.

If you ask for their contact information, scammers may propose using Skype. They often do this because it’s easier to provide a fake telephone number than to disclose their actual whereabouts. If they are particularly smart, they may even offer a bogus number, leaving the service provider to take responsibility.

While video chat services like Skype and Zoom are acceptable, we suggest requesting phone numbers for added security. Why is this important? If a commitment is made to provide the number at a later time, it could be problematic.

It’s worth noting that scammers may not provide their phone number but instead ask for yours and call you via some software.

They Decline to Discuss Their Abilities

This doesn’t necessarily imply that they lack technical knowledge. As your inquiries become more detailed (regarding their expertise), they may appear increasingly uncomfortable.

It’s recommended to provide specifics after a call. Using the expression “I can send you all my project paperwork via email” is frequently linked to fraudulent behaviour. As a result, this should be avoided when answering interview questions.

Numerous candidates hung up when asked technical questions. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they were revealed to be fraudsters.

“Hola,” says a German programmer in Spanish

Note that fraudsters from overseas may not be conversant in the local language, but their accent may reveal their origin. Listen to the intonation of their voice as their native language and accent may provide clues to their identity.

Although a candidate may seem suspect, the Works hiring team will always get in touch with them. Only by talking to or seeing them can their genuineness be ascertained. Any signs of fraud can be detected by noting their accent and observing any vague replies to questions.

Keep in Mind That Not Every Suspicious Person is a Criminal

The Works hiring team has noticed a pattern that the above-mentioned information refers to. It’s best to conduct additional research before jumping to the conclusion that a profile is fraudulent.

When warning signs arise, it’s time to schedule interviews and to monitor the profiles frequently to ensure that no significant adjustments have been made, like what happened with Stanica. It’s crucial to validate that all information is correct and to carry out preliminary research to ensure accuracy.

At Works, we understand it because,

  • Names and surnames that are common or rare in one country may be unfamiliar to individuals from a different country.
  • Recognizing cases of incorrect use of English is highly contextual and relies on the person’s language proficiency.
  • The human race is constantly progressing, with people enhancing their linguistic abilities by acquiring new languages. Thus, relying solely on a person’s name, address, and educational background when making hiring decisions is ineffective and could result in unfavourable consequences.

Works’ Hiring Team Thwarts Scammers

Engaging the services of a dedicated remote hiring platform like Works can be advantageous in safeguarding your company from any fraudulent activity by IT candidates. With the expertise of a seasoned recruiter, there is a higher probability of detecting such scammers and thereby protecting your business from the possible fallout of an ill-advised hiring decision.

Below are the Skype usernames of the scammers identified by the Works hiring team.


At Works, we are dedicated to safeguarding sensitive information and consider this issue very seriously. If your personal information, such as your profile, email address, or Skype name, has been revealed on account of this post, we suggest that you take legal action against the culprit.

live:.cid.128d0a4d51427ab1 is claimed to belong to Bohdan Sydorenko.

live:ca765c49af7e77e1 is alleged to be owned by Sreten Petrovic (profile removed).

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