What Are Layer 2 Platforms? And How Do They Work?
Layer 2 solutions; the future of scaling blockchain technology.Read
Job recruitment scams are nothing new. Unfortunately, though, decentralised technologies give criminals new ways to defraud hopeful users. Here’s how to stay safe online.
Scammers are always ready to defraud unsuspecting people, and are prepared to exploit any opportunity ruthlessly if it means they can steal a few extra dollars. Unfortunately, this means they will look for particular vulnerabilities and areas they can take advantage of, whether that means on a personal, emotional or technical level.
Recruitment scams, or ‘jobfishing’, has been around for many years. But as more of our everyday life has moved online, while inflation and the cost of living crisis bites more deeply, more criminals have gravitated towards this lucrative way to make money at others’ expense. The scams frequently involve the offer of well-paid work, but claim to require accreditation or training first, for which the candidate must pay. Bated in by the hope that they will soon have a well paying job, applicants send money to the training ‘companies’, only to find that there is no accreditation, and of course, no job at the end of it either.
Following a series of similar job scams, the UK government recently published guidance around remaining vigilant about fake recruiters, and some of the ways they con hopeful applicants out of cash at a time when they need it most. Regardless of which sector you work in, the following red flags are a helpful starting point to staying safe in your search for work:
These precautions are good warning signs no matter what kind of job you’re applying for. When you add online freelancing and crypto into the mix, however, it can get even more complicated, as the scammers may have some additional tricks up their sleeves.
With the rise of the gig economy and remote freelance work, scammers have a new set of opportunities to exploit. Back when most work took place in a physical office, it was harder to trick candidates with fake opportunities. Online, however, it can be much harder to verify an employer’s identity. What’s more, with companies based all over the world, employers might be operating in different time zones, making face-to-face communication difficult. You also may not even share the same first language. In short, the difficulties, risks and uncertainties increase.
Yet this is no reason to avoid remote gig work as a whole. There are steps you can take to ensure that opportunities are legitimate, including common warning signs to look for, and identifying means of protecting yourself from online scammers.
Firstly, if you’re looking for work and just starting out, there’s a good chance you’ll scour job boards and search for opportunities all over the web. While that’s a legitimate way to find employment, casting the net wide also increases your risk of engaging with scammers.
If at all possible, search for employment within your existing network of friends and acquaintances – through people you already know in your industry and, crucially, through people they know. There is strong evidence that most employment opportunities come not through direct connections, but through these second-order connections: friends-of-friends, acquaintances of colleagues, and so on.
If you can get a personal recommendation, or a word-of-mouth referral, these can be worth their weight in gold. This will put you directly in touch with someone valuable, avoid much of the hassle of the recruitment process, and ensure that you will not fall prey to scammers.
If you’re not lucky enough to find work this way, no matter. Just keep your eyes open and remain vigilant on how typical scammers tend to operate.
While there are many different scams around in the recruitment industry, there are generally some common themes. If you know what you’re looking for and take basic precautions, you should be able to avoid running into any issues. Using a platform like LaborX provides you with further protection, thanks to the features that have been built in to streamline the flow of recruitment and payment, while removing the unnecessary points of trust and single points of failure.
Often scammers will start by advertising very particular types of jobs. These roles typically include:
These are generally tasks that require little expertise or training – meaning they are likely to get lots of applicants (aka potential victims). They may offer pay that seems higher than those positions would normally provide, again to entice others and increase the number of applicants. (Such promises of earning a strong wage often encourages people to look past any irregularities they might be more sensitive to if the job was offered at the typical going rate)
Of course, on many occasions low-skilled jobs will be perfectly legitimate, and the vacancy shouldn’t be ignored out of hand. If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll very easily decipher whether it’s safe to proceed, or not.
You'll likely notice one of two things if you do encounter a scam – especially if you’re using LaborX:
In the first case, the risk is that you’ll visit the site and end up downloading a piece of malware, either deliberately or accidentally. This may be used to harvest your personal data, log your keystrokes, compromise your crypto wallets, gain access to your exchange accounts, and more. In many cases, this will be the desired outcome for the scammer; once you’ve clicked the link, their work is done and they have access to all the information they need.
Of course, such scams are common all over the web – you will no doubt have received phishing emails and other messages before. The solution is straightforward:
Alternatively, the scammer will try to convince you to leave the platform because it gives them more freedom and less oversight. If you’re communicating via Telegram, you don’t have any of the benefits and protections offered by LaborX – which is designed from the ground up to facilitate safe working arrangements and reliable payment between freelancers and clients. For example, should you ever need to open a dispute, your communication history will be used by the moderating team to determine the outcome of the case. If parts of the conversation are missing because they took place off the platform, it may be impossible to reach a fair decision.
Inside or outside the LaborX infrastructure (and again, for your safety, all communication should remain on the platform), one thing to watch out for is a so-called customer asking if they can pay only after you’ve completed the job. This should be an immediate warning sign to you.
The typical workflow on LaborX is to establish communication via the built-in chat; to discuss a specific task (whether a Gig or custom Job); for a formal offer to be made; for the customer to escrow funds; and finally for the work to begin. Upon completion, the funds are then automatically released from the escrow contract.
Working outside of this framework means you are forced to trust the other party fully. You may complete and submit the work, but never receive payment. In this instance, there would then be nothing you could do about it.
When using LaborX as intended, you are protected by an escrow contract. Funds are locked here and cannot be withdrawn by the client, unless they open a dispute (which they might legitimately do if, for example, a freelancer submits work that is not what was ordered, or is of low quality).
The default outcome is that the freelancer is paid upon completion of the job. This acts as a huge source of reassurance to freelancers, who are otherwise vulnerable to being defrauded. Even in the world of regular work, almost every freelancer will have had to grapple with the issue of non-payment, or late payment, at one time or another. LaborX’s escrow contract ensures that freelancers aren’t kept waiting around after the end of a job, and don’t have to do any chasing – let alone deal with the frustration and hassle of customers who simply refuse to pay.
If a scammer is trying to get you to do any form of work without payment, then escrow provides the ultimate protection. Never accept an offer to do a job without using escrow, even if they offer more money – it’s simply not worth the risk!
In addition to escrow, LaborX is in the process of implementing a pre-moderation system. This system filters the jobs that are posted, and removes any that are blatant scams (since we know what we’re looking for, it’s relatively easy for our team to spot the jobs that are not legitimate). In future, we will also be rolling out a system that provides warnings within the chat when suspicious behaviour is detected.
Always remember to stay safe when interacting with employers and job offers!
Layer 2 solutions; the future of scaling blockchain technology.Read
The recent introduction of a new feature from Ledger has turned the spotlight back onto wallet security.Read
Life moves fast in the crypto world. Since the end of 2022, the markets have bottomed, with bitcoin putting in a storming 100% gain from the cycle low of $15,500 in November 2021 to the $31,000 high in mid-April, five months later.Read