4 Ways to Make Sure Your Job Posting Isn’t a Scam

Finn Hafemann / iStock.com

Employment scams use attractive, hard-to-detect approaches to target people who have not worked. Fraudsters know that people are most vulnerable when they are desperate or scared, and they can use outbursts and pressure tactics to prey on their victims.

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Some scammers take a slow approach with interviews and a seemingly legitimate operation to collect personal information. Other scams promise guaranteed or easy income – if you buy their program or buy equipment or training. In a twist on the popular overpayment scam, a bogus employer sends a large paycheck and asks you to return the “overpayment”.

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On its Consumer Advice site, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides some helpful advice on company audits and the validity of job postings. As a job seeker, familiarize yourself with these four ways to determine if your new job offer is a scam and how to avoid fake offers:

1. Research your potential employer

Check any job postings you find online. Ideally, you should visit company websites to verify third-party job posting sites. If an ad you found on a third-party site is not on the company’s site, you should be careful when applying for and accepting any job.

It makes sense to take what you find on the internet with a grain of salt, but the FTC recommends researching your potential employer with trigger words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” You can find out if your validity issues were real from people who have already been burned.

2. Never pay for a job

It should go without saying, but the promises of employment against payment are scams. When looking for a job, you shouldn’t have to pay your potential employer. They might say they need you to cover upfront supplies, like a computer or phone, that you receive later or get reimbursed for.

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If you’ve been tricked into sending money, no matter how you paid – debit card, credit card, wire or bank transfer, gift card, or cash top-up card – contact the company you used to send the money and request that the transaction be reversed, if possible. You will also want to report the fraud to the FTC immediately.

3. Beware of “fake check” scams

In a fake check scam, a staffing company asks you to deposit a check, usually for more than what is “owed” to you, and then return some of the money to them or another person. Fraudsters always have a good story as to why you can’t keep all the money.

The checks themselves come in many forms. They can look like business or personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or a check delivered electronically. These scams work because fake checks usually look like real checks, even to bank employees. And fake checks can take weeks to be discovered and unraveled.

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In general, be on the lookout for recruiters asking for money or banking information before hiring. You should never need to provide anything other than a resume until you’re hired or enter into some sort of contract, so keep your social security number and personal identifying information safe.

4. Beware of corporate testimonials

You can also check the recruiter’s testimonials and profile to check their legitimacy. But be skeptical! Scammers are deceptive, but they want to look as convincing and “official” as possible. Therefore, many will create online profiles including fake testimonials from corporate characters.

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In the age of online hiring and remote work, much of the hiring process happens without meeting in person. Always check if the employer is real or legit to avoid employment scams. Once you have authenticated an employer, you can submit your name for review. But be diligent; Dream jobs do exist, but if something seems too good to be true, that’s because it often is.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to make a career change in 2016 and focus full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently obtained a technical degree in communication and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience writing for the retail industry.

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