How to Avoid Online Job Search Scams

Cyber-crooks are disturbing people. Consider job-search scams. With the world economy reeling, bad actors are capitalizing on people’s desperation. They’re targeting those looking for work. There are steps you can take to filter out illegitimate opportunities.

Cyber-criminals like to be timely. Plus, appealing to people’s emotions improves their success rate, so it’s not that surprising that there’s been an uptick in job-listing scams in 2020.

Avoid Job Search Scams Online

The bad guys are betting people will be less cautious when they see an attractive job offer. Don’t be their victim. Take these steps instead.

Read the job description carefully

This means:

  • Looking for grammatical or spelling errors. As with other cyber scams, someone who is not a native speaker of the posting’s language may write the listing.
  • Being wary of phrases designed to communicate urgency or a too-good-to-be-true offer. You wouldn’t expect to see “quick earning potential” or “unlimited money” in a legit posting.
  • Search for specificity. A legitimate listing will list job responsibilities and industry credentials. Someone faking it is less likely to be able to use the industry vocabulary.

Be wary of instant hiring

No matter the industry, few positions are filled immediately. You should expect the recruiting process to take time. If you are being pressured to take hiring steps urgently, that should be a red flag. Get an email congratulating you on earning the position before you’ve met with anyone? Proceed with caution.

Question modes of communication

Job scammers will rely on online chat interviews and email. If you don’t speak in person with someone, it will be more difficult for you to confirm legitimacy. With emails, read the return address carefully. A scam job might use a close approximation to a big brand to add credibility. (You have to look closely to distinguish between nationalbank.com and nationlbank.com.)

A good strategy is to search the company’s website for a job listing. If you don’t see the role you’re interested in posted, investigate further.

Don’t pay for a job opportunity

Don’t pay an upfront fee for a background check, uniform, or some other testing or training. Don’t provide any of your private personal information at the outset either. Don’t send tax or banking details before a formal offer of employment. Even then, be aware that some scammers take it from start to finish, including interview and job offer.

Trust your instincts

If the job sounds amazing, and you can’t believe how perfect it is, scrutinize the posting. A listing posting an exorbitant fee for easy work or telling you about the stupendous success of another candidate is likely a fraud. Confirm standard job expectations and salary with an online search of career listings.

Falling prey to a job or other cyber-fraud can leave you vulnerable to more than disappointment. Victims report loss of money, identity theft, or computer hacking, and more. An IT expert can help with security patches and system upgrades to keep your devices and network safe.

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