Fake stories and jobs a trap to job seekers desperately looking for work online

job seekers

High unemployment rates have led to desperation of job seekers, who are falling prey to scams and sob stories from influencers and people looking for attention in online job boards.
In the last few months, the global economy has been battered due to the spread of coronavirus, with only a minority of countries coming out of the pandemic unscratched. A battered economy has translated to many people losing their source of income contributing to unprecedented global unemployment rates. The current rate of unemployment in the US, for instance, is 10.2 percent, which has put more than 21 million American working force out of work.
People have grown desperate of jobs, and with limited companies currently hiring, and job seekers are falling to job scams posted online. Desperate for work, job seekers are applying to almost all jobs that are posted, and unfortunately falling prey to unscrupulous ‘employers’ promising them heaven on earth.

Job seekers desperation and risks

LinkedIn, a major social network for professionals has become the breeding ground for these types of scams. Phony jobs adverts are thriving on the platform, and with hard economic times that have hit every sector of the economy, people are not paying attention to details and end up applying.
Michael Kovich, the founder of the Mauch Chunk Coffee Company, and a person who has been on the site since 2010 realized this problem of phony recruiters preying on unsuspecting job seekers for attention. His solution was simple, try to make job stories that looked similar to those that were being advertised by these unscrupulous individuals running this scam.
Stories such as a kidnapped person breaking free from his captors and heading directly to interviews are not uncommon. Kovich, in one of his posts, wrote about a job he offered to a Brazillian who had been captured and had been unable to pay the ransom. He had to stay with his captors for more than eight months. When he got a chance, he was able to steal the captor’s car, head to the airport and fly to the interview, of which he was hired.
Sob stories like these, meant to elicit emotions and connect with desperate job seekers at an emotional level have become rampant on the site. Kovich admitted that the kidnapping story was, of course false, but still, people were falling for such a story. The responses to the story were included people thanking him for his kindness, with one commentator calling him an amazing hiring manager.


Influencers have also fallen into the trap of eliciting emotions and running scams to connect to desperate workers on an emotional level. On one instance, a hugely popular influencer, with over 3 million followers asked users to comment on his post and like it if they were looking to be hired by him. Over 66,000 reactions and comments that screamed desperation filled the timeline, a problem that has become all too common for the market place.
Kovich said that the rise of fake news and phony stories meant to elicit emotions from job seekers had become too common and disconcerting. He described the phony stories and fake news in the site as something that the site needed to look into. Although LinkedIn, unlike Facebook and other social media platform, uses humans for fake news detection rather than robots, there still remained a lot to be done to ensure those job seekers are protected from such scams.
Featured image by Pixabay


Kelvin Maina

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