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Harry Cassin
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FINRA warns compliance officers (and others): Beware of fake online job interviews

Wall Street’s independent regulator warned that people claiming to be involved in the hiring process for legitimate organizations are using Skype and similar apps to phish for personal information and money.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA said in an Investor Alert that scammers are also using phony emails or copy-cat websites to lure job seekers to reveal personal information.

Some scammers are even posing as representatives of FINRA itself.

FINRA is a non-government non-profit that helps regulate the equities and options markets. It’s overseen by the SEC. Among other things, it runs complance boot camps and compliance outreach programs, and it enforces ethics rules.

FINRA’s Gerri Walsh said it’s important “to know that legitimate companies and employers will not ask you to provide confidential information through non-secure means — and you should never do so unless you are certain the interview is legitimate.”

Thursday’s FINRA Alert listed some red flags that might signal an online video job interview scam:

On-the-spot interviews or lack of preparation by hiring personnel leading up to the online video session. Beware of any request to do an online video interview immediately, without any prior contact with you.

Requests for personal information such as your Social Security number (SSN), credit card information, or a bank account number. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and employment experts warn that asking for this type of information is a red flag that may signal job fraud.

Asking for payment. “Employers and employment firms shouldn’t ask you to pay for the promise of a job,” the FTC said.

Prompts to download documents or files. Files may contain malware that captures keystrokes or mouse movements or that even takes control of your webcam. In at least one case, someone posing as a FINRA hiring manager asked the interview candidate during a Skype session to download a file that purportedly connected to FINRA’s HR department “via our company server.”

To avoid falling for an online video job interview scam, FINRA suggests:

  • Calling the company’s human resources department to verify that the company does in fact use Skype or other technologies to conduct interviews remotely, and that the company has scheduled an interview for you on the date for which you receive a request.
  • Doing an internet search to research the company and HR staff member or recruiter responsible for the job posting.
  • Ending the call immediately if you’re asked to provide personal or financial information or to pay a fee that you didn’t expect.

FINRA’s July 6, 2017 Investor Alert is here.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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