An unfortunate reality is that of scam artists or con artists, and they can appear when we least expect them. We see con artists depicted in Hollywood movies and TV. We hear of various scams on the news. One type of scam that is becoming more common is the Job Scam. So, how can you identify if a job is legitimate or a scam? Here are my top 8 tips:
- Immediate Offer – In some cases, you may be sent an email with a job offer. These emails may mention that they have seen your profile or resume online and that they would like to hire you for their current opening. Most employers are required to do their due diligence when selecting a person to hire, and this includes conducting interviews. If you are given an offer without as much as an interview, this is a clear sign that the job is a scam.
- Interview via IM – Job scammers have become wise to the first tell-tale sign, and as such, they may ask you for an interview. Employers typically conduct interviews, but legitimate employers will interview via telephone, Skype, or in person. Job scammers tend to rely on Instant Messenger to interview.
- Poor Spelling & Grammar in Job Ad – this refers to obvious spelling and grammar mistakes. One way to check for grammar and spelling mistakes is to copy the job description to MS Word and run a spell check and grammar check. In addition, you can also use the free Grammarly add-on for your word processing program. This will give you an added layer of scrutiny.
- E-mail Address – Legitimate companies will have a website, and their employees will have a company specific email address. If you receive an email from a non-professional domain, such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Live, then this is another tell-tale sign that the job might be a scam.
- Ask You to Pay – Legitimate employers will never ask you to transfer money to them for any reason. Job scammers, however, may ask you to transfer money to them for things like training, software updates, or immigration services.
- Personal Information – Although you will need to send your personal details such as Social Insurance Number and date of birth to an employer as per their background check process, this is usually conducted near the end of their recruitment process. As such, if this information is requested before the interview, this could be a sign that the job is a scam. In addition, be wary of any websites to which you need to upload your personal information. The web address should begin with “https”, where the “s” stands for secure. Otherwise, you will be uploading your personal information to an unsecured site, which means that your personal details could be compromised.
- Bank Details – Legitimate employers will need your banking details in order to pay you. Be wary if a prospective employer asks for additional banking information, such as the answers to your security questions or for your PIN number. Unless you receive an offer of employment from a banking institution, employers will not ask you to open a bank account with a specific bank, and again, they will not ask you for the PIN number or security answers for your newly opened account.
- Intuition – Finally, trust your intuition. If you believe a job might be a scam, be sure to proceed with extra caution and do your research!
What to do if you Suspect a Job is a Scam?
First, and for every role, it is highly recommended that you conduct thorough research on the organization and on the people with whom you will be meeting. That said, some of the savvier scam artists have “borrowed” LinkedIn profiles of legitimate people. Be sure to take note of the LinkedIn profile to see how many connections a person has (i.e. do they have any connections?), if the profile is complete, and if there is more than one person with the same name at the same company. LinkedIn is an excellent resource that I often recommend job seekers use in their job search. Although LinkedIn cannot control the creation of fake profiles, they are extremely diligent in ensuring that such profiles are removed.
Second, if you suspect that you have been contacted by a job scammer, be sure to report it to the local police, or in Canada to the RCMP’s fraud unit. This will help curtail job scams and will help us to protect each other from such scams.
Finally, be sure to share your experience with others and share this video. If you have been a target of such job scams or know of someone who has been, please do leave a comment below. The more we are aware of these types of scams and are able to help others identify them, we will all be better off.
Most of the job advertisements that you come across will be legitimate. It is important to recognize that job scams exist and to know the tell-tale signs. As such, please be sure to be mindful of these signs and to report and share your findings.
Until next time, happy hunting!
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