How to Spot & Avoid Fake Job Posting Scams

With unemployment levels in flux and what seems like weekly mass layoffs, job scams are on the rise. In fact, they are now one of the most common types of online fraud.

And it’s no wonder why – with the floods of laid of workers entering the job market and more job seekers than ever leveraging the Internet to find jobs, scammers are taking advantage of the fact that job seekers may not have as much experience when it comes to recognizing scams.

At the very least, these fake job listings are a waste of time for job seekers and at their worst, can cost job seekers thousands of dollars in illegitimate fees and stolen identities.

So what can you do as a job seeker to ensure the job listing you’re pursuing is legitimate to avoid to avoid falling victim to fake job listings and offers.

What is a fake job listing scam?

A fake job listing scam is when a fraudulent company or individual posts a job they don’t intend to fill in an effort to collect personal information and/or money from unsuspecting applicants resulting in a financial loss, time loss and emotional loss.

Types of Job Scam examples:

Fake job scams can come in many forms, including advanced fee schemes, work-at-home scams, charm scams, and more. Becoming familiar with the different types of job scams can help you avoid them in your job search.

What is a fake job offer scam?

A fake job offer scam is when a fraudulent company or individual offers you a job through email, text, or social media and requires you to provide personal information, pay an advance fee for training materials, or make a payment in order to secure the position.

What is an advance fee job scam?

An advance-fee job scam is similar to a fake job offer scam. In this case the scammers require you to pay an advance fee in order to apply for the position or receive additional information about the job.

What is a work-from-home job scam?

A work-from-home job scam involves a fraudulent company offering a job that can be done from home with no upfront cost, often in the form of data entry or customer service.

The scammer will require the job seeker to pay a fee for training materials or additional information.

What is a catfish job scam?

A catfish job scam is when an individual attempts to form a personal relationship with the job seeker in order to extract personal or financial information from them by misrepresenting themselves.

The scammer will often claim that they are in trouble and in need of financial assistance.

What is a government job scam?

A government job scam is when a fraudulent company or individual claims to represent the government and offers a position that requires government clearance and a comprehensive background check.

These scams require the job applicant to submit personal information like social security numbers, bank information, and credit card numbers in order to complete the application process.

What is a reputable job site scam?

A reputable job site scam is when a fraudulent company or individual creates a fake job posting on a legitimate, well-known job board.

The job listing will appear to be legitimate but will require the applicant to provide personal information and/or pay a fee in order to apply.

What is a recruitment or job placement scam?

A recruitment or job placement scam is when a fraudulent company or individual claims to be an employment agency or a recruiter.

These fake recruiters will attempt to develop a relationship with a job seeker in order to collect their personal information or fees for placing them in a job.

How can you identify job listing scams?

There are many ways to identify fake job listing scams including red flags like impossible wages or job titles, a lack of contact information from the company, an email from an unrecognized domain and requesting fees.

Inflated salaries or wages

If a job posting has a salary listed that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

While it may be tempting to blindly apply for job listings like these, it is important to do your research and make sure the salary is in line with industry standards.

Job titles that don’t exist

Another way to spot a job scam is if the position has a title that doesn’t exist or isn’t valid.

These positions may promise high salaries but are likely too good to be true and should be avoided.

Lack of contact information

When searching for a legitimate job, it is important to look for contact information from the company.

If there is no way to reach out and inquire about the position, this could be a sign of a scam.

Emails from untraceable domains

If you receive an email offering a job from an unrecognized domain name, this could be another sign of a scam.

If the domain in the email address contains strange alpha-numeric combinations, is from a company that you’ve never heard of, or has spelling errors, it is best to avoid the offer.

Requests for fees

As stated above, many scammers make their living charging fraudulent fees.

If the job listing requires a fee for any type of training course or materials, this is a clear sign that the offer is not legitimate.

Job seekers should never be asked to pay money in order to apply for a position.

Guaranteed jobs

Job seekers should be aware of any offers that guarantee a job.

Legitimate employers will not make promises about securing employment for someone and it is important to trust your instincts if something seems too good to be true.

How can you avoid job scams?

There are several simple ways to avoid fake job listing scams that include researching the company, using caution when submitting personal information, and questioning any requests for money or credit card information.

Research the company to avoid fake job scams

Before applying for a job or giving out any personal information, it is important to research the company.

Check to make sure they not only have a legitimate website but an active social media presence as well in which people engage with their posts.

LinkedIn is a great tool for this purpose because it gives you the ability to also find others who work for the company currently.

Ignore requests for money to avoid fake job scams

Legitimate employers will never ask for money in order to apply for a position.

If you are asked to pay a fee for any type of training material, software, or other services, this is a sure sign that the listing is not legitimate.

Watch out for suspicious emails to avoid fake job scams

Emails from unrecognized domains and addresses should be avoided at all costs.

Additionally, emails with spelling mistakes or typos that claim to be from a legitimate company should also be avoided.

Trust your instincts to avoid fake job scams

If something doesn’t feel right or the offer seems too good to be true, it is best to trust your gut and move on.

While you may be tempted to ignore your gut for the sake of landing a job, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Report suspicious activity

If you suspect that a job listing is not legitimate, you should report it to the appropriate authorities like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

This will help protect other job seekers and ensure that these fraudulent activities are brought to justice.

Who do fake job scammers target most?

Fake job scammers typically target vulnerable populations such as those who are unemployed, underemployed, remote-job workers, senior-citizens, or those who lack the necessary skills to land a legitimate job.

Scammers target laid-off workers

Scammers often rely on individuals in these situations being desperate enough to apply for any offer without doing their research.

Scammers target remote job seekers

With the growing number of job seekers looking for remote work, these types of candidates are the perfect target for scammers.

Scammers target underemployed workers

Scammers often target individuals who are currently employed but looking for a better job.

These scammers prey on the fact that these individuals may be more apt to accept offers without researching them properly.

Scammers target senior job seekers

Unfortunately, seniors are also a prime target for scammers due to their unfamiliarity with newer technologies and job search tactics.

By being aware of potential scams and taking precautions, senior job seekers can protect themselves from becoming victims.

Scammers target undocumented workers

Undocumented workers are also a prime target for scammers due to their need for work and lack of legal protection.

Scammers may try to take advantage of these vulnerable individuals by offering them jobs without verifying their immigration status or providing necessary documents such as passports, visas, or other forms of ID before asking them to pay expensive fees to apply or train for the job.

Avoiding fake job listing scams

While these types of scams are on the rise, making yourself aware of them can help you stay vigilant as you search for your dream job.

Ultimately, by being aware of potential fake job listing scams and taking the appropriate precautions, you can ensure that your job search is a successful one.

By researching the company, avoiding requests for money or credit card information, and trusting your instincts, you can protect yourself from becoming a target of a scammer.

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