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How to Spot the Fake Tech Candidate Scam in the IT Industry

Fake tech candidate scam being screened by a remote recruiter

Disclaimer: DistantJob does not intend to leak anyone’s private/sensitive information with the fake tech candidate scam article. If you see your profile/email/skype or any other information in this article, your account has been hacked/impersonated. We recommend you take the necessary action against the scammer.

It’s no news. It happens every now and then. It was Facebook sometime back and last year and the year before that. Scammers on LinkedIn or any other recruitment platform are no different. So, what’s the big deal? The thing is that hacking/data leaking isn’t the only “scam” in the online world. There are some who create fake profiles and showcase some of the best skills on these fake profiles in search of jobs. This fake tech candidate scam is problematic for the recruitment industry. They can go as far as impersonating an actual person and creating duplicate profiles on professional networks.

The type of scam we are referring to is the one where the conversation goes something like this,

Recruiter: “Hi Stanica! Are you around for the call regarding the MERN Developer role?”

Stanica: “Yes. Nice to meet you. What’s your phone number?”

That’s a normal question and a normal answer but it all becomes abnormal when Stanica, after his interview, decides to change his name to Baim Agambetov and his profile picture looks different. What’s the probability of a plastic surgery and a sudden love for another name? The odds of this person being a scammer are more, for sure.

The abovementioned conversation is NOT an analogy to throw light on online scams in the recruitment world. It is a REAL conversation between the technical recruiter from DistantJob, Julia Biliawska and an unabashed scammer.

Julia started experiencing many similar cases, not only on Skype but also on LinkedIn. What amazed her was the large number of profiles that at first glance seemed okay but once she took a better look at them, she could point out many things that were “off”.

Julia decided to do further research on this and find out as many scammers as she can. She wants to put their profiles out in the open and help the recruitment industry save their time, money, and embarrassment in front of clients. 

The profile links are mentioned at the end of the article. Some of the scammers deleted their LinkedIn profiles but those that still exist have been listed at the end of the article.  We highly recommend reading everything so that you know the telltale signs of scammers and protect yourself from fraud.

(For the uninitiated, Greenhouse is an ATS and recruitment software.)

What is a Fake Tech Candidate Scam? How does it Affect Your Business?

Julia’s experience with Stanica aka Baim Agambetov aka so many other names and profiles is a classic example of what a fake tech candidate scam looks like. 

  1. You Can get Scammed in Many Ways
  • A fraudster hacks a real tech professional’s account and talks to you via email/call/other communication. This impersonation is done to bag a job at your company.
  • A scammer creates a professional profile faking his/her experience, education and possibly all the other details to look like an eligible candidate for a position in your company.
  • A scammer creates fake testimonials and reference calls during the hiring process in order to secure a job at your company.

In simpler words, a fake tech candidate scam is all about faking identity and skills to get a job. This can pose long-term repercussions for your business and cause you to lose of time, money, and resources.

  1. A Fake Tech Candidate Scam Affects Your Business
  • You lose out on money by paying a salary for no output in return.
  • If the hacker is a high-profile scammer, he/she could end up tampering with your company’s bank accounts for theft.
  • You lose time and your project gets delayed because the scammer doesn’t actually have the skills that were mentioned in the resume.
  • After you fire the scammer, your internal recruitment team will need to start the hiring process all over again which will take time and there’s no guarantee that won’t happen again. 
  • If you catch the scammer, the whole legal process of going against him/her in the court of law will cost you time and money.

There’s nothing good that will come off this scenario. The bad news is that it is hard to catch scammers if you’re not experienced enough in hiring candidates. The good news is that there are some really good recruitment agencies who can not just catch a scammer during the hiring process, but also find the best “real” candidates for you. 

For instance, DistantJob’s recruitment team caught many of these fake candidates. We’re here to help you recognize the fake profiles. 

How to Recognize Fake Tech Candidate Scam: Watch Out for These Traits

1. They Appear “Self-Employed” Since Forever

If you see an application that has all the right things; the qualifications and skills are spot on, go check their LinkedIn profile. If they’re that amazing, why have they been self-employed without any details for 2-3 years?

We do give them the benefit of doubt in certain cases:

  • If they’ve been inactive on LinkedIn for a long time, then it is clear that they could’ve not updated their profile.
  • The other aspects of their profile look fine and they’ve been interactive on LinkedIn with various groups/people from the same field. You can check this in the “activity” section in their profile. If the profile is locked, check their number of connections or add them to know more. Dig as deep as possible to clear your doubts.

2. Their LinkedIn Profiles Have Nothing to Say

If there’s very little information on their LinkedIn profile, it’s a red flag. You’ll probably see just their employment start and end dates. You’ll also see a lot of irrelevant people in their networks.

Dig a little deeper if you see such a profile. Get to know the candidate a little more by talking to them over a video call.

3. Dmytro “Lee” from Ukraine has a Degree from Beijing University

We, at DistantJob, certainly love diversity. But the existence of a Dmytro Lee from Ukraine with a tech degree from Beijing is very unusual. This profile is staring right back at you with ‘’SCAM’’ written all over it.

With such profiles that make no sense, don’t even bother. There’s no way that a Ukrainian-Chinese Dmytro Lee with 131 connections is legit. If you see a profile that has weird name, place and education combinations, we recommend you to look further into their profile. It is possible for a person to have such diversity in their educational and professional background but it is rare. Perform a small background check if the profile is legitimate. 

4. Those Lengthy Emails They Send You

If you asked for just their resume and want to schedule a call but they send you the history of how Spanish Flu killed a 100 million people between 1918-1920, then there’s a scammer being what they’re best at – oversmart.

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

If you are done cringing at Stanica’s blatant giveaway with “Thanks for your kind message”, move on to “Hi Client”. Caught in the act. No actual candidate ever writes an email like this. 

“Nikola” totally ignored Julia’s message and just sent her a “how are you today?” as if they were real-time chatting.

Here’s a list of more “weird” communication from the others that helped us spot the scammers and when we dug deeper, they were confirmed as scammers.

  • The grammar is almost always off.
  • The way they communicate is very different from how people from their region usually talk. This is not to say that it’s not possible for them to have a different accent or a different way to write but generally speaking, it’s rare. 
  • They use “How is your weekend” a lot. We understand this can be a common phrase to start a conversation but not all the time. No matter what, it is always better to get on a call before jumping to conclusions in such cases.

Also, a certain “Nikola”, who was supposed to be from Serbia, just got busted. Here’s how:

Your email tracking software can help you with finding many scammers. This is possible only if they haven’t changed the visibility settings at their end.

More so, the software would show you if emails were read from several locations. It reports the location associated with your recipient’s IP address, which in this particular case indicates that Julia’s email was either forwarded to someone else or that there are actually more than one person having access to this inbox. Scammers might invest in a good VPN but wouldn’t that be another sign of a person thinking things up? In any case, while dealing with scammers, you may actually face a team of people working on the deal:

5. Phone Number? No. Let’s Skype.

Ask them for their phone number and they’ll be quick to talk about Skype. The scammers do this because a phone number will give away their actual location. If they are oversmart, they will provide you with a number that won’t work. Why? They’ll blame the provider, of course.

We have no problem with Skype and Zoom calls but it is a very good idea to ask for their phone numbers just to see how comfortable they are in providing the same. Do they make excuses? Do they say they will give it to you later? If yes, then there’s a problem.

Also, it is worth noting that while they might not give you their phone number, they’ll ask you for yours and then dial in using a software.

6. They Don’t Want to Talk About Their Skills

They are not necessarily technical people. When you start asking questions (I mean, something more specific about their experience), they will start sounding uncomfortable. 

“Oh, I will share the details after the call. I can send you the document with all my projects”, is what you’ll hear a lot if you’re in conversation with a scammer. This is not a professional way to deal with interview questions, even if you are not a scammer.

In many instances, candidates simply hung up when they were asked technical questions. No wonder, they turned out to be scammers.

7. “Hola”, says a Developer from Germany

Well, scammers might not use their native language if they’re pretending to be from elsewhere but their accent is a dead giveaway. Pay attention to how they talk. The grammar and the accent are easy hints to determine where they actually are from.

The DistantJob recruitment team always gets on a call with candidates, even if they just “appear” to be scammers. You’ll never know for sure until you hear or see them. Once you hear their accent and they start avoiding certain questions, you’ll be able to catch them.

Not Every Suspect is a Scammer

All of the points mentioned above are indicative of a pattern that has been experienced and observed by the DistantJob recruitment team. We recommend you to do your own research on each profile you screen before deeming it a scammer’s profile.

Once you see the red flags, get on interview calls while still keeping an eye on the profiles every day (lest they change their name and profile picture like Stanica did!). Check for consistency and perform a small background check in advance to be sure.

Disclaimer

At DistantJob, we understand that,

  • Not everyone is aware of common or not-so-common names or surnames in some countries.
  • Spotting broken English is very subjective and depends on your own level too.
  • People travel and people move places. They learn new languages. So, someone with an uncommon name living in one place and having a different educational background doesn’t really mean anything unless you’ve done other background checks and interview calls. 

The Scammers Caught by the DistantJob Recruitment Team

To avoid being a victim to this kind of a fake tech candidate scam in the IT industry, it is important that you go for a specialised remote recruitment agency like DistantJob. Since experts are more experienced in the recruitment process, it becomes easier for them to catch scammers and safeguard your business from suffering the consequences of a wrong hire.

Below are the Skype IDs of the scammers that were caught by the DistantJob recruitment team. 

Disclaimer:

DistantJob does not intend to leak anyone’s private/sensitive information with this article. If you see your profile/email/skype or any other information in this article, your account has been hacked/impersonated. We recommend you take the necessary action against the scammer.

Skype IDs of suspected fake tech scammers:

live:.cid.97c27509653c0efe supposedly belongs to Dmirtii Musatov

live:.cid.614713228aae5b02 supposedly belongs to Dzmitry Karchmit

live:.cid.f1b263e387d48dbb supposedly belongs to Danilo Jovanovic

live:.cid.779b2c20fd5614d8 supposedly belongs to Zarko Brankovic

live:.cid.855b1194cce40d3 supposedly belongs to Jovan Kostic

live:.cid.8e0f3eea3ea8f840 belonged to Stanica Vuleta, now belongs to Baim Agambetov (profile deleted)

live:.cid.d5d67367b8cd8490 supposedly belongs to Boris Ganev

live:.cid.f18a15d90a4c4600 belonged to Serhii T, now DannyDavid (and Danny D on google meet)

live:.cid.853a52dd8b978532 supposedly belongs to Dmytro Lee

Several others from other roles and previous searches:

live:milorad.becin2017 supposedly belongs to Miloran Becin 

live:.cid.5b41f7cb461fa90f supposedly belongs to Boris Slavko

live:.cid.659f6b90f9505b5a supposedly belongs to Arkagei Popov

live:.cid.128d0a4d51427ab1 supposedly belongs to Bohdan Sydorenko

live:ca765c49af7e77e1 supposedly belongs to Sreten Petrovic (profile deleted)

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Aneesha Kochar

Aneesha Kochar

Aneesha Kochar is a Content Marketer at DistantJob. She has been a freelance writer for more than a decade. An ocean of information along with many of her own experiences can be witnessed in her writing.
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