Career Development’s Guide for Avoiding Job Scams
Tips for avoiding the variety of job scams that you may come across online and during the job search.
In today’s world, nearly everything is online. Our personal information, how we connect with the people in our life, and even job hunts have been digitized for ease of access. Navigating the fully digital employment market can be a frustrating and tiring experience and the various job scams you may encounter can often make it even more difficult. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the most common scams online and provide tips on how to avoid them.
Have you gotten an email from a recruiter or hiring manager who says they found your resume online and that you’re perfect for a position or that you’re invited to be hired without an interview based on your high qualifications? Unfortunately, opportunities like this one feel too good to be true because they are. If you didn’t apply for a position, it’s unlikely a recruiter would reach out to you directly via email, though not impossible. To differentiate between a scam and a real offer keep an eye out for these red flags:
- A free personal email address from the sender (ie: Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, etc.).
- Emails with no contact information from the sender in the signature.
- A sender asking for personal information via email like your social security number, driver’s license, or bank account.
Social Media Scams
If you’re on social media, you may receive a direct message request from a recruiter offering you great money while working from home; you just have to click a link. Clicking links can seem harmless but it often allows third parties access to your data and the ability to hack your accounts. Before clicking any links sent to you on social media about job opportunities, look out for these red flags:
- Does the social media account they messaged you from have low followers, posts, and low engagement? This is a sign of a scam.
- The account that messaged you has told you a great pay rate but there is little to no job description.
- The sender’s account is not the company’s official social platform.
Work-from-home scams have become even more popular in recent years with the large shift to remote workforces. As you head into the job search, you may come across work-from-home opportunities that seem too good to be true, likely because they are. Fake recruiters may reach out to you on behalf of companies, executives, and brands for high-paying work-from-home positions including being a virtual personal assistant, stuffing envelopes, data entry, and government positions. To avoid these scams, look out for these warning signs:
- You are hired without the need for an interview.
- The fake employer will send you a check, asking you to deposit and send some of the funds to a fellow employee. The check is often fake and results in you owing money to your bank for the missing illegitimate funds.
- You are asked to pay for registration fees, staffing fees, classes and materials, or for other things an employer would usually cover.
With so many job scams currently happening online, it’s important to keep yourself protected and look out for these red flags. While this guide outlines just some of the most common scams online, scammers are constantly implementing new ways to dupe unsuspecting victims. Here are a few important things to keep in mind with any job opportunity that seems too good to be true:
- If the pay is too high for the job, it’s likely a scam. Research companies online to see what other employees there are making.
- If the company doesn't have any social media presence or there are curious misspellings of the company name ("Genaral Motor" instead of "General Motors," for instance) in the job listing, do some additional research to verify the listing.
- If the listing is posted on a website that seems suspect, you can quickly check the vailidity of the site's ownership by going to who.is and search for it; the results will tell you when the website was created, and if it's less than a year old, you have reason to be additionally suspicious.
- Recruiters may contact you but not if you aren’t actively sharing your work. If a recruiter reaches out to you without specifying where they found your resume/work, it might be a scam.
- A vague job description is rare in any posting. If the lead isn’t descriptive or the recruiter can’t supply additional information, you may be dealing with fraud.
- Poorly written communication and unprofessional emails are rare in the hiring world. If you’re receiving correspondence from someone with poor writing skills, they likely don’t represent the company they claim to.
- If a recruiter or company representative is asking you to provide sensitive personal information outside of an onboarding portal like Workday, you should decline to provide it.
- If a recruiter seems suspicious for any of the above reasons, contact the company directly (at a number posted on their official website) and ask for the person who has reached out to you.
While we know the job search can be an overwhelming process, avoiding these pitfalls will help ensure a less stressful path to employment. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, be sure to listen! If you ever have those moments of doubt, trust your instincts and feel free to reach out to your Career Development Advisor for support.
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