Our online directory exists in part to make queer talent visible to potential employers. Unfortunately, this also means Queer Design Club members who appear in our directory may be visible to scammers targeting potential job seekers.
This is not unique to Queer Design Club. These scams are increasingly common on all platforms where people might be looking for work. But queer people are often especially economically vulnerable, so we want members to be alert and stay safe.
Please note: we are not lawyers and even if we were, this wouldn’t be personal legal or financial advice. We hope these tips and resources help you protect yourself, but if you’re in a position to seek out expert advice, you should do so.
There are many types of scams that target job seekers. Some scams are designed to steal money from you while others are trying to get your personal information. Some may even have you unknowingly engage in illegal activities like re-shipping stolen goods. And all this is in addition to old fashioned multi-level marketing schemes.
Scammers are constantly looking for new ways to get your personal information and money. Look out for:
- Emails from free domains like Google or easily faked “knock-off” domains like Jobs-at-Company.com. (Recruiters should have emails with the company they are hiring for or agency they work for.)
- ”Recruiters” or ”employers” with minimal online presence to verify their identity.
- Being asked to provide personal information—especially over email, text, or free form software.
- Interviews conducted over text or messaging app.
- A sense of urgency
- Unclear job details and unprofessional communication
If you’re presented with an opportunity that seems too good to be true:
- Double check the email addresses and URLs in the communications you’ve received. See if they match the company’s or reputable recruiting platforms’.
- Check the company’s job board yourself to see if the position is listed. Some company job boards also share information to help applicants avoid fraud—like what email domains they recruit from and what their application process is.
- Look up the recruiter or hiring manager on platforms like LinkedIn.
- Reach out to the company directly to confirm they are working with the recruiter or hiring for the role in question.
- Use the #jobs-advice channel in our Slack to see if other members have been approached by the same people or with similar opportunities.
If you’re the target of a scam
First, don’t blame yourself! These scams work because the people behind them have lots of practice! Most of us have to go through the process of looking for work, and it’s stressful. Scammers know that stress affects our judgment. It’s not just you.
You may want to consider taking the following steps:
- If you’ve sent the scammers money, report the fraud to your bank or the payment platform used immediately. They may be able to stop the payment or help protect your account from future abuse.
- If you gave them your credit or debit card information or used those cards to purchase something on behalf of the scammers, consider requesting new cards from your bank after reporting the fraud.
- If you gave scammers personal information, consider placing fraud alerts on your credit report and signing up for a credit monitoring service.
- Report the fraud to the relevant agencies in your country (in the US, you can report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission) and/or local Better Business Bureau (or equivalent).
- Report any accounts, posts, or websites used to the relevant platforms (Gmail, LinkedIn, Craigslist, web hosts, etc.)
Let your professional community know. Don’t let embarrassment prevent you from letting other potential targets know about these scams or asking for help rebounding if you need it!
Keep designing and shining.