While looking for a job, you have to be careful about which jobs you apply to and avoid job offer scams. Some signs of a job offer scam are if the recruiter asks for personal information before hiring you, the job seems too good to be true, the company wants you to pay for something, or if communication is unprofessional.
Continue reading to learn more about job offer scams, why they are dangerous, how to tell if a job offer is a scam and how to stay protected against them.
Why Job Offer Scams Are Dangerous
Job offer scams are a type of online scam in which cybercriminals create fake job listings to trick those who are actively searching for a new job. Cybercriminals will post these fake job listings on legitimate job listing websites such as LinkedIn or Indeed. When a victim applies and accepts a fake job offer, the cybercriminal can steal the applicant’s personal information.
Job offer scams are dangerous because they take advantage of active job seekers to try to steal their personal information. These types of scams trick job seekers into giving up their personal information once they apply for or accept the job. If an applicant reveals their personal information due to a job scam, cybercriminals can use it to commit identity theft.
Identity theft is when someone uses your stolen personally identifiable information to impersonate you and commit fraud. With your personal information, cybercriminals can access your bank account, steal your money, apply for loans under your name and use your benefits from services like unemployment or medical. If a cybercriminal steals your personal information from a job scam to commit identity theft, you can be left with damaged credit, debt, financial loss and a ruined reputation.
It can be difficult to spot the difference between a scam and a legitimate job offer. However, if you look out for the signs of job scams, you can avoid falling victim to them. Here are the seven ways you can tell if a job offer is a scam.
1. The Recruiter Asks for Personal Information
Eventually, a company will ask for your personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information, after you have finished the interview process, gone through a background check and accepted the job offer. However, if the job application or recruiter asks for your personal information early during the interview process, or before you accept a job offer, then it is most likely a job offer scam trying to trick you into revealing your personal information.
2. Job Offer Seems Too Good To Be True
Searching for a job can be very time-consuming and taxing on applicants, so receiving a job offer can feel relieving. However, you need to be careful, because if the offer seems too good to be true then it probably is.
If you are getting contacted about a job you never applied for, feel that the interview process was too easy or received the offer right away without an interview, then it is most likely a scam. You should also be wary of jobs that require no work experience and promise flexible hours, minimal work and a high-paying salary. This is commonly used in a type of job offer scam known as work-from-home job scams, which scam those who want to work remotely.
3. The Company Lacks Credibility Online
Before applying for and accepting a job offer, you should research the company to see if the job is right for you. However, while researching, you may notice that the company you are applying for lacks online credibility.
Previous applicants may leave reviews of the company that let others know the company is a scam. These fake companies might not have a verified address for their physical office. While researching, you might see a lack of employees from the company on LinkedIn. Some job scams will create fake websites to make fake job listings appear legitimate, but they have been rushed and poorly made. Some job scams lack a website entirely. These can be signs that a company lacks credibility online and is most likely a scam.
4. The Company Website Does Not Match the Job Listing
Some fake job listings will try to impersonate legitimate companies. They will post on job listing websites to trick people into applying for their fake job listings. If you notice that the link to apply for the job listing does not match the company’s actual website, then it is most likely a scam. To prevent falling for this type of job scam, you should avoid applying for jobs on job listing websites, and instead, visit the company’s website directly to see if the job listing is real or not.
5. Job Description Is Vague
Job scams will often use vague job descriptions that are full of grammatical and spelling errors. Initially, a job scam may seem great with the flexible hours and high pay that it promises. However, the job description does not state what the actual job is and what you have to do for it. It may not even require any prior job experience, which is a bad sign, as almost all jobs require some sort of experience. Scammers intentionally write vague job descriptions so that anyone can apply.
6. The Company Wants You To Pay Upfront
You need to be careful if a company asks you to pay for something when applying for a job or after accepting an offer. Job scams will often ask you to send a payment for application fees, the cost of supplies or differences from fake bonus checks. No legitimate company will ever ask you to pay to work for them. Legitimate companies will have supplies and training already available for you when you start the job.
7. Communication Seems Unprofessional
Another warning sign of a job offer scam is if the communication seems unprofessional. A recruiter for a job scam might message you using an email address from a public domain. The email could have spelling and grammatical errors. Instead of emailing you, the fake recruiter might contact you using a messaging app like WhatsApp. A fake recruiter will often insist on using the messaging app and refuse to provide you with their direct contact information or the company’s. These are clear signs of a job scam.
How To Stay Protected Against Job Offer Scams
Job offer scams can be difficult to deal with while you are applying for a job. You need to practice the following while looking for a job to stay protected against job offer scams.
Do background research
Before applying for a job, you should always do background research to see if the company is the right fit for you. More importantly, you need to research the company to ensure the job listing is not a scam. By doing a Google search of the company, you can ensure the company is legitimate and that the job listing is real.
You should look at review websites to see what others say about the company. Go on professional review websites that check the legitimacy of companies such as the Better Business Bureau. Visit the company website directly to see if the company and job listing are legitimate.
Avoid unsolicited messages regarding job offers
Some recruiters will try to contact you regarding a job offer that they think will be a “perfect fit” for you. Some might contact you with a phishing attempt to get you to give up your personal information. These are most likely job offer scams, and you should avoid any unsolicited job offers, especially for jobs you did not apply for. Don’t interact with these messages if they have a suspicious attachment or link for you to click on. Only respond to messages regarding jobs you applied for.
Don’t share personal information before getting a job offer
You should never share your personal information online. It may be tempting to share your personal information with a company for a job you just applied for, but you should be hesitant to do so right away. Normally, a legitimate company will ask for your personal information after you have applied, finished the interview process, gone through a background check and accepted the offer.
However, if a recruiter asks for your personal information before you accept a job offer, then it is most likely a scam. You should only have to give out basic contact information when applying for a job. Anything more than that while applying for a job is a red flag. Be careful with whom you share your personal information online and only share it when you are absolutely certain it is safe to do so.
Stay Protected Against Job Offer Scams
Job offer scams are dangerous as they can steal your personal information which often leads to identity theft and a loss of money. You need to look out for the seven signs of job scams to recognize and avoid falling victim to them. You can protect yourself against job offer scams by doing background research while applying for jobs, avoiding unsolicited offers and never sharing your personal information with unreliable sources.