Job seekers should be on high-alert to avoid becoming a victim of employment scams.
Job scams are a real threat. According to the Better Business Bureau, an estimated 14 million people are exposed to job scams yearly. And the risk of falling victim to a scam only continues to rise.
So, what exactly is an employment scam?
A job scam is when a job seeker believes that they are applying to, or have been hired for, a job, but there is, in fact, no job available.
To make matters worse, these job applicants have usually provided some type of sensitive, personal information, which the scammers can then use to commit identity theft or steal money.
Protect yourself against job scams by familiarizing yourself with some of the red flags and learn what you can do to avoid falling victim to them while looking for a job.
Job Scam Warning Signs
A job seems too good to be true.
There’s an old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” This is especially true when it comes to some job ads.
If a job seems to be offering a lot more money than that particular job or industry normally pays, or they are offering surprisingly lucrative perks, it may be fake.
The job posting is vague.
Real job ads should provide plenty of details. After reading one you should have a general idea of what the company does, what the position is and what skills are required for the role.
If you don’t see a lot of content, or see unclear or confusing content in the job posting, chances are it’s not a real employment opportunity.
You’re asked for sensitive, private information.
Before starting a job, employers will ask you for personal information like your social security number and bank information. However, you should never have to provide that information when applying to a job.
A lot should happen before then – a phone call telling you more about the opportunity, an interview and, of course, a formal job offer.
If you are asked to provide any confidential information when applying or right after applying, it’s likely a scam.
Social Media Job Scams
While you may definitely come across job scams when doing a job search online, many scammers are shifting to social media to target potential victims.
This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – and even LinkedIn.
Some jobs may seem to be posted by legitimate businesses and well-known employers, but the jobs themselves are not.
Scammers may take a company’s logo or name and post a job pretending to be that employer. They may even create fake profiles as well, posing as recruiters for that organization.
These social platforms do their best to try to vet content and remove fake profiles and fake job postings, but they’re not able to catch them all.
Here’s an example of a fake Facebook job posting. In this case, the scammer is pretending to be TERRA Staffing Group.
How to Avoid Falling for a Job Scam
Do your research!
Before applying to a job, verify that it is a legitimate opportunity.
Research the company. Check out their website, read online reviews, see if the job you are interested in is also listed on their website.
Real companies should have public contact information easily available, so don’t hesitate to find their phone number and call them. (Be sure to use the number you find on their website, not the one listed in the job posting.)
Let them know about the job opportunity you found – and confirm that the job is legit.
Never send money or share personal information.
No legitimate company should ever ask you for money to apply to a job, or start a job. If you find yourself in a position where an “employer” is asking you to do this, walk away.
Similarly, you should never have to share highly confidential information, like your social security number or bank account when applying to a job.
The most you should be asked for is your contact information, such as phone number and email.
Remember, scammers are often trying to steal your identity or your money. So be particularly careful with the information you do share.
Trust your gut.
There’s a lot to be said for intuition.
- Does the job seem realistic – in pay, benefits, etc.?
- Is the recruiter profile newly created?
- Are they asking you to download an app or click a link?
If you have any doubts at all about the legitimacy of a job posting, listen to yourself.
This doesn’t guarantee that the job is fake. It just means that you should proceed with caution. Don’t rush into applying.
Give yourself the time to do the research. And remember that it is totally within your right to ask questions.
Job searching can be stressful enough without having to worry about employment scams.
Protect yourself during your job search by being careful and paying attention to the warning signs.
About TERRA Staffing Group
TERRA will never ask you to disclose highly personal information before discussing potential employment opportunities with you. Nor will we ever ask you for money or to download an app in order to apply to any of our jobs.
If you see a job posting listed by us, and want to know more about the job, or even just want to confirm the legitimacy of the job, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We want to make sure that you feel confident about any job opportunities we share – and want to make sure we are doing our part to keep you safe from any scammer posing as us.