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Common Job Scams and How to Avoid Them

BY ALISON DOYLE
Updated December 16, 2019
Published on ‘the balance careers’ website

There are as many scams as real job openings online—sometimes it seems like more. How can you tell the difference between online job scams and legitimate job openings?

It can be really difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what's a scam. Scammers are getting more sophisticated and coming up with new ways to take advantage of job seekers all the time.

Before you apply for a job online, especially work at home jobs, review typical job scams and scam warning signs to help you determine if a job is a scam. If you're not sure, take the time to research the company to make sure the job is legitimate.

Types of Online Job Scams

There are many online job scams that take advantage of job seekers in a variety of ways. Scammers have several purposes, depending on the scam—to collect confidential information to use for identity theft, to get you to cash fraudulent checks or to wire or send money, and to get you to pay for services or supplies.

Job scams are posted on Craigslist and other job boards and forums, as well as on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In other cases, you may receive unsolicited email from scammers. It's important to be vigilant and check out every job you're interested in to make sure it's legitimate.

Online Job Scam Warning Signs

  • You're offered a job without an application, interview, or discussion with the employer.
  • The company asks you to wire money or asks for your credit card information.
  • The company asks for personal information like your social security number or driver's license number.
  • You are promised high pay for not much work.
  • The company asks you to pay for a credit report as part of the application process.
  • You are told you have to pay for training.
  • You're asked to cash a check and forward some of the money to a third party.
  • The salary details aren't clear. If the company doesn't pay an hourly rate or a salary, carefully investigate the details.

Googling the company name plus “scam” or “rip-off” will give you some information on the company if it’s not legitimate.  Visit the company’s website and if they don’t have one or it doesn’t have contact information, consider that a warning sign.  Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau.

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