Cyber criminals will use every tool in their arsenal in order to reel in a new victim. Those in the national security workforce are even more vulnerable. The job market today means many professionals will get hounded by recruiters looking for their next perfect candidate. But not every opportunity is legitimate. What are some of the top job search scams?

1. Fake Job Listings on Social Media.

Social networks like LinkedIn don’t generally individually vet companies or job listings. That means all a scammer needs to do is create their own (fake) profile and then upload their own (fake) job listing. Buyer beware when it comes to a job listing you find on a very public social site. In general, it’s often chaser to search and see if you can find the same opportunity on a legitimate job listings source like ClearanceJobs or the company profile. Also, check the urls where any listings go to and make sure they’re legitimate.

2. Fake Recruiter Emails.

Email remains the primary means for recruiters to reach out and connect with candidates. But not every email is legitimate. Beware of any recruiter email that asks you to click a link for more information, or pony up personal details immediately. Recruiters working in the national security space should be using a legitimate company email address or be able to point you to a legitimate company resource to verify their identity. If you’re getting job offer emails via hotmail, it’s probably time to think twice.

3. Jobs that Ask You to Fill Out the SF-86 Before you Apply.

An individual recently reached out and was worried because an employer asked them to fill out an SF-86 prior to formally starting the position – but now that company has ghosted him for months. It’s not necessarily a guarantee that the job is a scam if they ask you to fill-out the SF-86 before you start. Some companies will offer contingent job offers based on successfully filing out the SF-86, and some security officers do ask individuals to fill out the SF-86 manually. But it certainly triggers red flags. Make sure you verify the employment offer, and that it’s from a legitimate source before you provide any sensitive information. It’s also certainly reasonable to ask the employer to document the contingent job offer prior to filling out any paperwork.

What to do if you’ve been the victim of a job scam

If you realize you’ve been targeted by a job search scam, report the company or issue to the Federal Trade Commission. You can report fraud and scams to the FTC, and in doing so you may prevent others from becoming a victim.


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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer