How to Recognize and Avoid Job Scams
With the demand for remote work higher than ever, we are seeing an uptick in job scams.
Job scams are fake job opportunities that are used to lure job seekers into giving away sensitive information or even money. Scams of this nature come and go in cycles, and often follow the pattern of the economy. When the economy takes a dip, these types of things pop up. Why? Desperate people make easy targets.
Right now, many offer a work-from-home or “mobile” job model. They find resumes or contact information on job seekers through job posting sites or trolling social sites like LinkedIn and will correspond through email or text to try to obtain your sensitive information. Then, they can steal your identity or money.
How can I recognize and avoid a job scam?
If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and smart in your job hunt:
1 | Be on the alert if you’re offered a position that requires you to pay an upfront fee or training fee. The start-up fee might sound realistic, like covering your laptop and equipment costs. They might say that to get off to a good start, you need to invest upfront. Real employment opportunities don’t work that way.
2 | Be on alert if you receive emails or text messages from potential employers that are full of typos or jumbled language. A legitimate recruiter will be polished and professional.
3 | Even if the message is polished and well-written, that doesn’t mean it’s a real job. There are other clues to look for. For example, does the sender’s email address match the company name? Do the phone numbers/area codes make sense for the business location? Is it a real organization?
4 | Some scammers will use the name of a real company, so make sure you check the details and ask a lot of questions. Call the company’s general number and say “I am calling because I received a text message from someone who says they’re on your recruiting/hiring team. They are recruiting for ___ position. I am checking to make sure that this is a viable opening and recruiter.” You can also search the company name and “scam” to see if anything pops up.
5 | Don’t assume the job posting is legitimate based on the host site. Most job sites do their utmost to ensure the quality of the job postings presented to candidates, but exceptions can always slip through. Like RecruitMilitary, most job boards have a way to flag a job, so if you see anything suspicious on RecruitMilitary’s job board, please flag it for us to review. Help your fellow veterans out!
6 | If the recruiter has only contacted you though email or text, ask to talk over the phone or by video. Say something like “I am very interested in the opportunity, but I would like to talk to you on the phone or by video to get more information. Can we set up a time to talk?” A legitimate recruiter will gladly do that. A scammer will likely disappear. However, there are some scammers out there who will meet this demand. Always look for other clues.
7 | Be suspect of recruiters who send you a long and widely varied list of jobs to choose from in the message. For example, they might say you would be a great fit for an administrative role, a research role, or an analyst position. If the jobs don’t make sense, there is a good chance that it’s a scam. Most recruiters will reach out by discussing one particular job that would be a good fit for you.
8 | Use your common sense. If an employer asks anything unusual of you, the terms of the proposed job are irregular, or the opportunity requires some form of investment from you, it should raise a red flag. Ask for clarification on anything you find atypical and be cautious if offered the job after only a couple of interactions.
What should I do if I think I am targeted by a job scam?
1 | If you know where the scammer might have gotten your information, report them to the host site through their support or help page.
Other places to report scammers:
2 | If the scammer is impersonating a legitimate company, notify the company. That way, they know to be on the lookout for copycats and can pursue legal action if needed.
3 | Finally, if you think your personal information has been compromised by a scammer, immediately freeze your credit, notify your bank, and change your username and password on your financial accounts.
When it comes to job hunting on the internet, stay cognizant of the information you are putting out. Don’t upload documents with your social security number (like your DD-214) if you are not on a secure platform. Don’t share credit card information or bank account information. Real recruiters aren’t going to ask for personal information within the first few conversations. The HR department will cover that during the onboarding process. If someone asks you for that information before you’ve been hired, be wary.
Remember, though these things happen, you don’t need to be fearful of looking for a job online. Maintain awareness, be smart, do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.