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Alberta small business owner questions security of giant job search website Indeed

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Small business owner questions security of big job search website
WATCH: A small business owner in Calgary is questioning the security of job search site Indeed after getting hacked and then locked out. Tomasia DaSilva reports. – Mar 3, 2022

A Calgary small business owner is raising concerns about a popular job search website for both employees and employers.

Nicole Lajoie, owner of Bluebell Cleaning, told Global News her Indeed account was hacked early in February.

“I noticed there had been three new job postings that I didn’t create,” she said. “And they were all for different cities. So I immediately called Indeed and let them know my account had been hacked.”

Lajoie said the site immediately froze her account, but the problem was it also froze all her access to any information, including several of the job postings she had recently made and paid for.

“I’ve paid for the scouting of those employees and I have not been able to access their resumes,” she said. “I’ve missed interviews that have been set up. This is not professional.”

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Calgary business owner hacked and locked out of her Indeed account. Global Calgary

Lajoie said she called the company repeatedly but nothing was ever done to release her account. Weeks later, tired of what she called “inaction,” she reached out to Global News for help accessing her account once again.

“A lot of energy that I should be spending growing my company and being there for my staff, I’m now shifting that energy to focusing on re-securing everything.”

Read more: Scammers target online job seekers during COVID-19 pandemic

Global News reached out to Indeed which confirmed that: “Suspicious activity was detected and Bluebell Cleaning’s Indeed account was disabled as a result.”

In a statement, Indeed added that in order to protect clients and job seekers, and to keep fraud off the platform, it has a trust and safety team that regularly deploys multiple preventative measures including automated and manual interventions to remove malicious activity.

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In this instance, the spokesperson said, the suspicious activity detected on Bluebell Cleaning’s Indeed account was “a result of a compromise that occurred off of our platform.”

“We encourage Bluebell Cleaning to continue to review its systems and controls for potential vulnerabilities that may have exposed their account login credentials.”

Indeed advised any employer that suspects suspicious activity on their Indeed account to immediately change their password and enable two-factor authentication. There are various other ways to protect accounts on their Employer Help Centre page.

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Jobseeker discovers scam on legitimate job search website

Lajoie disputed she did anything wrong, adding she is vigilant about her online security and follows all recommended safeguards.

Instead, she questioned Indeed’s security measures, given the cost to use the site.

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“You don’t have any other option but to use Indeed,” she said. “It has such a hold on the market. I have to spend so much money and my credit card information should be safe.”

Watch: Calgary IT support company seeing an uptick in hacking cases during COVID-19 pandemic

As for why her account was hacked, Lajoie suspected it was another business wanting to use her credit card to avoid paying job posting fees.

“It costs all of these small businesses hundreds of dollars to get new staff,” she added. “So it creates a desire for this type of fraud, I would imagine.”

When pressed as to when Lajoie would get her account back, Indeed told Global News: “We are working with Bluebell Cleaning on securing and re-enabling their Indeed account and are refunding them any fees incurred during this time.”

Lajoie confirmed to Global News Thursday that her account is once again active.

She’s hopeful she can make up for the loss of privacy, time, work and reputation.

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