Voicemail from an ‘old friend’ is really a job scam

March 25, 2019

Got a voicemail from an “old friend,” but the name and voice don’t sound familiar? That’s because it’s really a scam. This crafty voicemail con pretends to be a message from a friend, but it’s actually a way to push a phony job opportunity. Employment scams were the riskiest in 2018, according to the BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. This is just one of many approaches, but it’s a clever one.

You receive a voicemail that sounds casual, yet professional. (Listen to the message on BBB.org by using the link, bit.ly/hearvoicemail) The person claims to have spoken with you some time ago. Now they want to “catch up” by discussing your desire to work online. They tell you they have already earned thousands working from home and you can too. All you have to do is visit their website.

The truth is, you’ve never spoken to this person before. From this point, there are a variety of ways the scam can play out. If you visit the website, you may unwittingly download malware onto your computer, giving scammers access to sensitive information. In another version of the scam, con artists may offer you the job through their website and then ask you to give them your personal information for a “background check,” or so they can set up direct deposit. In another version, scammers ask you to pay for training before you begin your new job.

No matter what scam tactics they use, one thing is certain. Scammers will disappear once they have your information or money and you won’t receive the job you were promised.

How to protect yourself from job scams

Be wary of unusual procedures. An on-the-spot job offer is a red flag. Legitimate companies will want to talk to you before they hire. In addition, be very cautious if an employer asks you to pay them for some kind of service before you begin your job with them.

Watch out for unsolicited phone calls. If you can’t remember talking to a person who claims to know you in a voice message - be careful.

Double check job positions before applying. Before offering up your personal information in a job application, make sure the open position is legitimate. Visit the company’s official website and look for information about the job in question. If necessary, call the office to make sure the job offer is real. If a Google search reveals the same open position on multiple websites or in multiple cities, it’s most likely a scam.

For more information

For more ways to protect yourself against job scams, see BBB.org/EmploymentScams and BBB.org/RiskReport.

To learn about other kinds of scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTips. If you have been the victim of this or another scam, make others aware by filing a report on BBB.org/ScamTracker.