SAN DIEGO — You just got hired! But wait, it’s a scam?

Criminals are now victimizing job seekers under the guise of a job offer.

If you’re on the hunt for a job right now, watch out!

Scammers are using legitimate companies to post fake job openings on LinkedIn with the goal of getting your personal information and your money.

As more companies lay off thousands of workers in anticipation of an impending recession, scammers are seeing a fresh crop of potential victims.

“It hurts,” victim Trey Hackney said. “It hurts. It’s not bad enough just not having a job, but it kind of feels like they’re sticking an extra knife in you.”

Hackney says he applied to a seemingly legitimate job posting on LinkedIn and got hired. The scheme was so elaborate the criminals made him fill out forms. Then they sent him a check to purchase equipment.

“I wasn’t really feeling great about it so I thought, ‘Hey let me contact the bank that issued the check,’” Hackey said.

Turns out it was all a scam.

Deputy District Attorney Joel Madero with the Computer and Technology Crime High Tech Response Team or CATCH says the scammers often use real websites, information and businesses to masquerade as legitimate employers.

The scammers will typically ask victims to send part of the money back or the equipment they purchase before the check clears your bank account.

“The remote work phenomenon that we have had since COVID, I think has really opening the door for this kind of scam because we have become accustomed to not meeting in person anymore,” Deputy District Attorney Joel Madero said.

He warns if an employer asks you to purchase something that’s a red flag. He also says if an employer sends you a check, make sure to wait for it to clear. 

“If a check is sent from a potential employer and they’re trying to get you to act very quickly with the money that they send you, that’s another big red flag,” Madero said.

Trey says he’s grateful the bank stopped him from being scammed and warns others who may also be on the job hunt.

“They know that you’re looking for something that you really need and to take advantage of you when you’re really vulnerable is one of the worst things you can do,” Hackney said.

If you have fallen victim to a similar scam, make sure to contact your bank and local law enforcement. You should also file a report with the FBI’s IC3.