Job Search Tips

6 Signs Your Job Opportunity Might Be a Scam

Written by Peter Jones

Ever wondered if a job posting seems too good to be true? Chances are, if you feel like you see a tiny warning flag, it’s probably there. Protect your identity, your money, your time, and your dignity by being on the lookout for the following signs of scam.

1. They contacted you.

Always verify if the job posting finds you, rather than the other way around—particularly if the pay seems far too good to be true. Try to avoid searching on job sites that don’t have a privacy mechanism. You’ll be much less vulnerable to scammers.

2. All details seem vague.

Beware if the job requirements are very vague, as is the position description, like if there’s no mention of education or experience, just a few incredibly basic “requirements” to make it look more real—age, perhaps, or “access to the internet.” Real jobs will ask for very specific things.

3. Their emails are unprofessional.

If you receive correspondence from a potential job, and there are typos, misspellings, or other errors in style, don’t bother writing back. Capitalization should be standardized and professional. Punctuation and grammar should be utterly correct. Anything short of the highest standard of professionalism and you’re probably looking at a scam.

4. Interviews are done via Yahoo or nonprofessional chat.

You can interview via Yahoo Instant Messenger? No thank you. In person or on the phone, or perhaps on Skype, is the preferred method. Yahoo IM should be a very clear red flag. If you are at all inclined to go through with the interview, make sure to research the organization vigorously beforehand to make sure it really exists.

5. There’s no contact info.

You get an email without any contact information, or from a personal address, there’s an issue. Most professionals will conduct all of their work and recruitment correspondence from their work email. If they don’t have one, be worried. Be worried also if you aren’t provided a phone number or a business address or web address—and extra worried if you Google them and turn up no results. If you do find a real company, but still feel sketched out about the contact, you’re well within your rights to call the company and verify that the person in question is an actual employee.

6. They ask you for something out of the ordinary.

Just run away the minute someone asks you for any sensitive personal information. Don’t ever give out your bank account—even if someone offers to send you jewels or funds from a foreign bank. And RUN if they ask you for money. Never agree to pay for a credit report, or a background check, or software. Real jobs supply all this for you. And they review your resume and application gratis.

Remember fake jobs can be lurking on social media, legitimate job sites, even under the name of legitimate companies. Your best defense is to keep your wits about you, and listen to your gut. If you get a funny feeling about a company, chances are you have some reason to.

About the author

Peter Jones