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It’s an amazing employment opportunity–or is it? Scammers often hijack the job market to ensnare job seekers. Here’s what to know about these scams.

How the scams play out

There are several variations of job scams. Here are the most common: 

  • Bogus job listing. There’s a Help Wanted ad for a dream job. The eager job-seeker applies, sharing their information, and even paying a small fee for an interview or resume submission. Unfortunately, the job doesn’t exist and they’ll never hear from the “employer” again.
  • Imposter hiring. An alleged rep from a well-known agency or hiring firm reaches out to a target, asking them to send funds to cover a job screening. While the job may exist, the “representative” is a scammer, and the money the victim shares will go directly into the scammer’s pocket. 
  • Phishing emails. In this scam, a victim is targeted by email. It offers the victim a fantastic job, but asks that they first share confidential info. If the victim complies, they’ll be giving their personal information to a scammer.  

How to spot a job scam

Learning to identify the signs of a job scam can help you avoid them. Here are some red flags to watch for when job-hunting: 

  • The emails the “company” sends are highly unprofessional. 
  • There’s no street address for the company. 
  • You’re asked to pay an upfront fee before you’re even hired.
  • You’re asked to share personal information before an official contract is signed.
  • When “hired,” you’re underworked and overpaid. 

Before applying to or accepting a job offer, do thorough research. Ask for references of past or current employees and check out the company website to see if it’s secure and has real information about the firm, including a street address. Check out the company’s social media accounts, too. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the employer any questions you may have about the company or job.

Job-hunting can be stressful, but getting caught in a job scam can bring that stress to a whole new level. Stay alert and stay safe by following the tips outlined here. 

Your Turn: Have you been targeted by a job scam? Tell us about it in the comments. 

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