Types of Job Scams
Employment scammers will try to take your money by offering a job that doesn't actually exist or pressuring you to spend money before potentially receiving a paycheck. Below are some common types of job scams.
How to Avoid Employment Fraud
Signs to look for
If you're considering applying for or taking a job and the situation feels off, ask yourself:
Am I looking at the right website?
- The problem: Job scammers will set up sham websites that try to mirror a real company's website in hopes you'll fall for their ruse and give your personal information to them as you apply for their "job." They'll use a URL that closely mimics the real company's URL, such as company-ABC.com when the real company's website URL is companyABC.com.
- Your solution: Pay close attention to the URLs through which you access information about a job. Google the company name and compare the URLs a recruiter sends you to what Google shows as the actual company website.
Is the way the recruiter communicates with me professional?
- The problem: A recruiter only wants to talk with you about a job over text or chat. They don't answer when you call and they won't agree to meet in person for an interview.
- Your solution: While you may initially find out about a job through text or chatbot, at some point a real recruiter will want to talk with you on the phone or in person to get to know you and your qualifications. A legitimate job interview will not take place over text or chat. Insist on a phone or in-person interview. If the recruiter will not agree, walk away from this fake opportunity.
Are the recruiter's emails legitimate?
- The problem: Someone claiming to represent a company is emailing you, but their email domain (the part after the @ symbol, such as "gmail.com") does not match the company name. Or, their email domain seems off: It's "@company-A-B-C.com" when you're pretty sure emails from this company come from addresses that end in "@companyABC.com."
- In addition, the formatting and content of the email is unprofessional: It's full of grammatical errors, uses several different fonts and colors, and doesn't read like a fluent English speaker wrote it.
- Your solution: Double-check a sender's email domain by going to the company's website (via Google search) and finding a representative email address on their Contact or Leadership page. If the email addresses showing on the company's website differ from the email address in your inbox, don't engage with the sender.
- Don't click on any links that look suspicious. You could open yourself to a phishing scheme or a virus download if you do. If the content of the email seems off, it probably isn't from the company. You can verify this by emailing the HR or recruiting contact listed on the real company's website. They will be happy to confirm the positions for which they're actually hiring and guide you to the right person to apply.
Is there enough information online about this company or job?
- The problem: When trying to research a job opportunity online, you can't find much information about the role or the company. There's no working phone number listed, no physical address (or the address doesn't make sense, e.g., a residential home for a "manufacturing" company), and no website. Their social media page doesn't reflect the type of information you'd expect to see, and it has very few followers. You can't find any company employees on LinkedIn or other social media sites.
- Your solution: Legitimate companies will have a well-established website and social media pages with a history of engagement from employees, customers, and fans. You should verify a company's online presence as well as their offline contact information by calling their phone number and noting the response on the other end of the line, and by visiting their physical address if possible.
Are they asking for information that makes me uncomfortable?
- The problem: The potential employer is asking for bank, credit card, or personally identifying information (like a social security number or drivers' license number) before offering you employment. Or, someone who is not HR is asking for this information.
- Your solution: A legitimate employer will need your SSN for tax purposes. And if you want to use direct deposit for your paycheck, you will need to share your banking account information. But you should never give that information out before receiving a conditional offer of employment, and you should only share it over an encrypted platform such as an employee web portal.
Are they asking me to pay money to secure or start this job?
- The problem: You badly need the income, but the potential employer is asking you to pay money upfront for equipment, supplies, training or fees.
- Your solution: While there are some occupations that require you to purchase your own clothing or safety equipment, a real employer will not ask you to spend hundreds of dollars upfront to buy supplies that are unique to their company. You should decline the request and the job offer. There are plenty of jobs with Spherion that come with NO upfront costs to be hired.
What do my friends and family think about this job?
- The problem: You show the job listing to a relative or friend, and they advise that it's probably fake.
- Your solution: Trust your loved ones! If they have doubts about the legitimacy of a job posting too, it's probably a scam.
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