Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – Job seekers beware: scammers may use invitations to discuss employment opportunities on Google Hangout as a way to get you to turn over sensitive personal or financial information. If you receive a similar unsolicited contact, stop communications immediately.

Fake work-from-home pitches often start via message boards and classified ad sites or through unsolicited emails from phony recruiters. Scammers use the names of well-known businesses, and the scammer may even impersonate a senior-level employee or executive from the company.

The scammer will ask the potential victim to interview over an instant messaging platform or using Google Hangouts, a service that allows Google account holders to send direct messages, join a group chat, or make voice or video calls. After an “interview,” the scammer asks for personal information under the false pretense of making a job offer or ordering a background or drug test.

If you receive an unsolicited job offer from someone claiming to represent a legitimate business, do some research and contact the business directly to inquire.

Be suspicious of job prospects that are sent to you from a personal email address (like a address) and of requests to chat via Google Hangouts or another instant message platform.

Additional tips to protect against job interview fraud:

–Many fake job interview offers float around by text message and email, so be suspicious of any unsolicited employment-related contact that you receive. You may wish to flag the message as spam and block the account from future communications if possible.

–If you post your resume on a job site, check whether your information is public or private and adjust the security settings to meet your needs.

–Watch for “interviews” where you are immediately offered a job without consideration of your education, experiences and background.

–Remember that the person contacting you may know some details about the business they are claiming to represent.

For additional information, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at, send an e-mail to or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128.

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