Did you see a job ad on the internet and thought that it’s too good to be true?
Well, chances are, it is.
Job scams are rampant all over the internet and anyone can be tricked into one.
Of course, scammers have always existed, but the ever-increasing use of technology has enabled them to get creative and affect more people.
Want to learn whether that work-from-home job you found is a scam, or actually legit? In this article, we’re going to teach you all you need to know about job scams (and how to avoid them).
#1. Work-From-Home Job Scams
Generating income from the comfort of home has always been appealing to job-seekers worldwide…
And job scammers know this.
That’s why one of the most common job scams is placing ads (often online, but scammers could always reach you by phone, or text) that promise great pay in exchange for work from home.
Work-from-home job scams have been around for decades, but statistics show that job scams increased during the COVID-19 crisis, as many people were left unemployed and needed to work from home.
These types of scams seek to take your money in various ways, such as by making you pay enrollment fees, for training, or for useless certifications, among others.
Some examples of fake work-from-home job offers include:
- Stuffing envelopes, which involves signing up by paying a fee to stuff envelopes from home. The only commission you may ever receive, however, is by signing others up to pay the non-refundable registration fee.
- Reselling merchandise, which involves buying luxury products less than their retail price and reselling them at a higher price.
- Data entry scams that, unlike legitimate data entry jobs, promise great pay but require an upfront registration/training fee.
- Reshipping scams, which consist of receiving packages at home, getting rid of the original receipts, repackaging the products, and reshipping them. However, the “employer” never sends you a paycheck.
- Rebate processor, a job that promises high income for processing rebates from home for a non-refundable training fee, but actually involves placing ads online and getting a small commission every time a product gets sold.
- Assembling crafts/products, where the company hires you after paying the enrollment fee and purchasing the products’ materials, but later rejects the finished products.
#2. Emailed Fake Job Offers
Another popular job scam is receiving a job offer through email.
The email usually comes from a “recruiter/employer” who claims they found your resume on a job board, or that you applied for the position (and you’re the perfect candidate!).
Although you might not remember applying (because you didn’t) and the sender’s email might not ring a bell, you could still be tempted to accept the offer.
Now, the types of fake jobs offered via email are countless but, generally, the scammer will ask you to provide personal information such as:
- Your driver’s license (which lets them know your birthday)
- Your Social Security Number (with the pretense they need it to hire you)
- Your bank account information (“to transfer your paychecks”)
Once they have such sensitive information, they could harm you in various ways, from stealing your money all the way to stealing your identity.
#3. Fake Jobs on Social Media
Since 53.6% of the population uses social media platforms, they’ve become a popular place for scammers to share fake job ads.
Commonly, they create Facebook pages or LinkedIn profiles to advertise fake job opportunities, but real accounts can also be advertising fake postings.
And although both platforms try to block both fake profiles and fake job ads, sometimes, some slip through the cracks.
Twitter is another social media platform that’s not entirely guarded against fake or real accounts advertising fake jobs. For example, job scams can be shared around Twitter through shortened URL links (bit.ly or ow.ly) that lead to unverified sources outside of the platform.
When it comes to job scams taking place on social media, it’s important to always verify the recruiter/employer’s social media account is legit.
For example, if the account on Twitter has a small number of followers, it’s most likely a fake account. Similarly, if you google the employer’s name and more than one profile comes up, you have reason to be cautious.
#4. Job Scams on Verified Foreign Job Sites
Even verified and popular job search sites like Linkedin or Indeed are not 100% immune to fake job ads.
These kinds of job sites work by collecting listings from company websites, recruiting agencies, newspapers, or by companies uploading job offers directly on the platform. But, although the job boards might be verified, the employers and job offers are not always.
And yes, scam job ads are present even on the paid job boards, so don’t let your guard down.
#5. Job placement service scams
Another common type of job scam involves scammers impersonating job placement services such as staffing agencies, headhunters, etc.
Thankfully, spotting such scams is pretty simple.
Headhunters or placement professionals (the ones that come to you with an offer, anyway) will never ask you to pay for their services.
In such cases, it’s always the employer that foots the bill.
So, if a job placement service asks for money for a job offer, chances are, it’s a job scam.
#6. Fake Employment or Recruitment Websites
At times, scammers go as far as to create fake employment or recruitment websites.
This type of job scam can be harder to spot than the rest, particularly because some of these sites do a good job passing as legitimate recruitment sites. However, in reality, the job offer or recruiter doesn’t really exist outside of the website.
Usually, this type of job scam will ask for sensitive information such as your SSN or your bank details under the pretense of a pre-screening, or to start depositing your paychecks immediately.
#7. Government and postal service job scams
Some job scams work by promising a job with the government.
However, if the website/employer asks you to pay a fee to get the job or to pay for study materials so that you get a high score and qualify for the position, the job offer is a scam.
All jobs are free to apply for, so if you hear or see the contrary, you have reason to be cautious.
Job scams consist of criminals posing as employers/recruiters reaching out to victims with a fake job offer and require their money or personal information, such as SSN or bank details.
To protect yourself from a job scam, make sure to do research on the company, talk to someone you trust, reject any offer that asks for your money and sensitive information, or promises you great pay for only a little professional experience.