Publié le 7 September 2023
Protect yourself while searching for your next career opportunity by knowing 5 ways to prevent yourself getting caught in a fake job scam.
With the “great resignation” that followed the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, it has meant a large increase in the number of professionals around the world looking for new work opportunities. And while the opportunities for progressing in one’s career—or switching to a different career altogether—are certainly there, job seekers should be wary of a problematic trend: fake job adverts.
One of the most troubling aspects of job scams is that they can affect pretty much anyone. Whether you are a new graduate looking for work, a seasoned professional in your field, or someone who is considering a career change, you are never immune to job scams.This is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with 5 ways to prevent yourself getting caught in a fake job scam.
What, Exactly, Is a Job Scam?
A job scam is a fake offer for work. Generally, scammers are after a person’s money or confidential information, which they then aim to use in an illegal manner.
In some cases, job scammers may not ask for money or personal data but might end up refusing or massively delaying payments to the person that they have hired, getting free work on fraudulent pretenses. In all of these cases, job scammers act illegally and fraudulently.
It’s vital that you stay aware and alert, as job scammers can target anyone—from a person interviewing for a job in finance to someone looking for a job with a software company and any job role in between.
However, there is some good news: spotting a fake job advert is much easier than you think. Read on to identify the five most common job frauds so that you can keep your eyes peeled whenever you come across any of them.
The 5 Most Common Types of Job Scams
1. Remote Work Scam
The percentage of people working remotely in the past few years has soared dramatically, especially during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes as no surprise, then, that the number one job scam out there involves working from home.
Whether it’s a pyramid scheme, a multi-level marketing company, or a seemingly harmless job offer that, however, requires you to purchase a range of products beforehand (in the hope that you will sell them all and make a marginal profit), if you see job adverts that promote “easy” remote work of this kind, they are probably a scam.
2. Email Job Scam
Have you ever opened your email only to find a message from a suspicious-sounding “recruiter” who claims to have come across your resume on a job board and that you seem like the perfect person for a job?
Well, the chances are that this is another scam. Unless you have genuinely applied for that specific position at that specific company, it’s unlikely to get headhunted by a stranger in this way. Avoiding sending any private information or even replying in the first place.
3. Social Media Job Scam
Social media platforms are another breeding ground for job scams, thanks to the widespread use of these channels by the majority of the global population. In some cases, job scammers may create a LinkedIn or Facebook page to advertise a job, or they may pose as a legitimate account—which makes the identification of these scams a bit trickier.
Usually, a fake account has a low number of followers or poses as a relatively unknown company, like a new tech startup. If they pretend to be a bigger and better-known company, they don’t feature the blue tick that verified accounts now have to pay for.
4. Credit Report Job Scam
In some subtler cases, job scammers come in the form of credit advisors calling you to claim that your credit score needs to be checked in order to ensure that you are eligible for a job. They may say it’s needed for their SOX software or as part of their background check.
People who fall for this scam are required to pay the fake employer for a credit report that will never be produced or received and that is certainly not associated with any job eligibility. It may also result in you providing confidential information that could lead to identity theft.
5. Fake Recruitment Website Job Scam
As extreme as it sounds, sometimes scammers go the extra mile and create fake recruitment websites. This is, of course, intended to “prove” the validity and authority of the business and the job offer, but it’s another strong red flag.
Arguably, this might be one of the hardest scams to spot, but if you follow the tips and tricks in our next section, you’ll realize that, in these cases, a little bit of online research goes a long way.
Job Scams: How to Spot Them
Now that you have a clearer view of the most common job scams currently around, it’s time to equip yourself with the best tools, resources, and knowledge to ensure that you never fall for any of them. Here are 5 ways to prevent yourself getting caught in a fake job scam.
1. Do Your Homework
What we mean by “homework” is simply to conduct lots of research on the person or company contacting you with a job offer. To begin with, search domain names and company review websites like Glassdoor. Figure out whether the company website is legitimate or not.
Then, if you have been approached by an individual, run an online search on them by including the full name and job title provided. This should quickly enable you to confirm or rule out your suspects.
If you are not finding anything specific about the person or company, try running a Google search that includes the person or company name followed by “scam,” “job scam,” or “fake job.”
It can also be useful to ask around your network of contacts and check whether anyone else has already been approached by the same person or company.
2. Never Trust Any Requests for Money or Sensitive Information
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main goals of job scammers is to get a hold of your money and/or personal information. So, if someone contacts you to purportedly offer you a job but only provided that you send them money or confidential data, then they are almost certainly scammers.
They may ask you to pay for a security check fee, new equipment, or document verification. Then, once you pay, they’ll disappear into the ether, taking your money with them.
3. Steer Clear of What Looks Too Good to Be True
Learning and growing one’s career is a dream that many people have, so it only makes sense that if you come across an unexpected job offer describing the exact position that you’d love to cover, you might be tempted to blindly accept.
However, as the old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true… it probably is. If the job offer promises easy and quick earnings, rapid career advancement, and a lot of free time or paid vacation, then you might want to ignore it altogether.
4. Don’t Trust Unprofessional or Insistent Communication
One easy way to spot a scammer is to look at how and how often they are communicating with you and what type of tools and tech they use. Let’s consider, for example, a legal firm that is contacting you with a job offer.
Are their emails poorly written? Does their job listing mention familiarity with the right technology for legal firms? Do they sound vague and unprofessional? Have they called or emailed you so many times that you are starting to feel uncomfortable?
You can also leverage recruiting tools to verify the legitimacy of the firm and ensure that their communication aligns with professional standards.
All of these are huge alarm bells that should confirm that the job in question is a scam. Also, take a look at the email address where the messages are being sent from, as its formatting and domain can tell you a lot about the legitimacy of the sender.
Keep a list of all your findings, as they will ultimately help you to figure out whether or not you are dealing with a scammer.
5. Trust Your Gut Feeling
Ultimately, if a job offer just feels “off,” and if your instinct is telling you that you shouldn’t trust it, then you probably should listen to it and move on, ignoring the seemingly “great” offer for a new and better job.
The simple fact that you feel alarmed and have noticed a few red flags should be enough to confirm that your suspicions are very possibly grounded in reality.
Stay Aware of Job Scams
Whether you are looking at upskilling, advancing in your current position, or changing careers altogether, the chances are that you will be keeping your eyes peeled for new job opportunities.
However, the process of finding a new job can become more stressful if you come across fake job scams, as we discussed in this article.
Job scams are, frustratingly, rife, especially online, with scammers constantly evolving their strategies and outreach methods. In our article, we looked at five of the most common types of job scams. It’s vital to stay up to date on potential scams when looking for a new position. We hope our guide to 5 ways to prevent yourself getting caught in a fake job scam was helpful, and remember: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.