How to Avoid Scam Jobs

How to Avoid Scam Jobs

There are many perks to being able to look for a new job online. You don’t have to check out the ‘Wanted’ Ads in the paper and you also aren’t restricted to what is immediately within the vicinity. With this ease has come the surge of fake or scam opportunities that prey on people who are desperate for a change. 

So, how can you protect yourself?

Well, the best advice I can really give is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Apart from that though, I want to go through some of the more common scams that are out there so that you will recognize them if it comes your way. I’ll go through the variety of ways people may try to scam you, but know that there are countless con artists out there who will constantly be thinking of new ways to trick you.

Social Media Job Offers

Social platforms like Facebook can be a great resource for finding freelance work and even full or part time job opportunities but it is also worth spending more time doing your due diligence on this one. A lot of scams here start by saying how much money they’ve made in this job and that you can private message them for more info. They may show pictures of a person who appears wealthy. 

Tip 1:  If you have to private message for more info, ask yourself why. Why can’t the information be public?

Tip 2: Click through to their profile picture. Does it show years of history? Or is it mostly just the same types of photos and little content? Does it list their career or even education info? Most often these are dummy profiles and their goal is to build trust with you and eventually ask for money or gain identifying details about you. 


Google Hangouts Interviews
& Asking for Money

If an employer invites you to interview via Google Hangouts, there is a good chance that it is a scam. Before accusing them of anything, try to get more information. Of course, if anyone asks you to fund any part of the onboarding process you should back away. There are very few legitimate companies that require new employees to put in an upfront investment. Unless you are buying stocks in the company or paying for a uniform, absolutely do not trust these situations. You should also ensure you have a clear and legally binding contract in place before any exchanges. 

Tip 1: Search for the company website, does it look registered and legitimate? Do they show long history throughout their website or does most of the content look relatively new? 

Tip 2: Try to contact someone at the company. For example, a lot of scammers use Google Hangouts because you can set it up without using your own phone number. Is there a receptionist you can call? Verify the phone numbers location. Does it match up with the company info? 

Vague Job Descriptions

Most legitimate employers will spend time ensuring their job description attracts the right type of applicant. If you stumble upon a vague job description where the “qualifications” section could apply to nearly everyone, watch out. Things like “internet access”, “must be 18 or older” and other arbitrary requirements don’t tell you anything about the job either. 

Tip 1: Ask for a job description with a list of duties. If they are unable or unwilling to provide more information, it is most likely a scam. 

Tip 2: Pay attention to their communication. Do they seem professional? What are they asking for in terms of next steps? If their communication is vague and bordering on unprofessional, it is probably time to walk away. Watch for things like spelling/grammar mistakes. Do they refuse to speak to you on the phone? Why? Does their email include contact and location information? If it doesn’t, these are all red flags for you. 

Tip 3: If the company website looks legitimate but you are getting weird vibes from the person you are communicating with, call the front desk or reception. Ask them to verify that they are hiring for this position and that the person you are speaking to performs interviews for them. They may be resistant to give away employee details but let them know you just want to make sure it is legitimate and they should be able to confirm this.

Asking for Personal Information

It’s also important to monitor what types of information the potential employer asks for. Most employers should not require identifying details about you (apart from what comes in your resume) until after an actual job offer is made. It is easy for people to automatically trust that an employer needs what they are asking for but when it comes to remote and online jobs you really need to be aware of what is appropriate.

Tip 1: If a company asks you to go to third party websites to fill out credit reports or anything similar, investigate these sites. Call and verify what information is appropriate. Ask a lot of questions and only follow through if you know it is verified and reliable. 

Tip 2: If they ask for things like your Social Insurance or Security number, banking details and date of birth, ask why. If they need this before you have even received a job offer, be cautious. Ensure you have verified everything and be on the lookout. 

Those are the main pointers for you! If you identify other scam job tricks, please let us know! Let’s all work together to keep each other safe from scammers.

-Dayna @ Nomadic Career Services

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