Viral TikTok claims fake job postings could be scamming and trafficking applicants

If you've ever received a job offer that seems too good to be true, then it probably is. 

Brittany Melenick took to TikTok to warn about job recruiter sites being breeding grounds for scammers and traffickers. She shared her frightening story about the time she believed she was being targeted for human trafficking through a job offer she found on LinkedIn.

The video, posted on July 18, has over two million views and thousands of comments from users sharing eerily similar experiences. 

Melenick says she began her job hunt on LinkedIn three months ago and applied to several opportunities posted. 

"I can find another job on LinkedIn, it’ll be easy," said Melenick in her TikTok. 

A media job recruiter reached out to Melenick expressing excitement about her application and wanted to meet in person at an offsite location. Melenick says she found it strange that they weren't meeting in an office building but needed a job and was unsuspecting. During the interview, the recruiter asked Melanie questions unrelated to her resume and seemed to stall for two hours. 

When Melenick returned to her car she found it had been tampered with. A black SUV followed her for two miles on her car ride home before getting derailed. 

She says she has since contacted police and detectives to track down the scammers.

"Human trafficking regardless of what this could have been doesn't restrict any demographic," she said on Tiktok.  

The FBI released a warning in May about false job advertisements linked to labor trafficking at scam compounds. These job advertisements boast lucrative benefits including large salaries, paid travel expenses and adaptable schedules. 

This is not the first time fake job listings have been posted on job recruiter sites. LinkedIn proactively removed 90.95 million spam and scam content during the second half of 2022. The most common type of scams on the website are inappropriate commercial activity and frequent messaging or invitations meant for financial gain. Indeed wrote in a statement that they remove "tens of millions of job listings each month that do not meet our quality guidelines."

How to spot a job recruiting scam

There are clear warning signs to look out for on job recruiting sites to avoid falling victim to a scam. 

Missing contact information: Fake job listings will make it difficult to find their contact information or company address. If basic company information is missing from its website, it may be time to apply elsewhere. 

The company asks for confidential information before hiring: A company should not pressure you to fill out tax documents or submit bank information for direct deposit before hiring you. If a recruiter asks for your social security number or bank account number, this is a telltale sign of a scam. 

Unprofessional communication: look for grammatical or syntax errors in a company's email or outreach efforts. If their communication seems unprofessional and has obvious errors, it may be time to move on. 

High pay: If the recruiter is offering unrealistically high pay as a starting salary, it is too good to be true. For example, offering an annual salary of $75,000 for only 15-20 hours of work. 

The schedule is overly flexible: If the job promises extremely flexible hours accompanied by unusually high pay, this could be a sign that they are trying to coerce you into a scam. 

Vague job description and requirements: The details and requirements for the job offer will be vague and list skills that could make anyone qualifiable. Real job opportunities are specific about their requirements.