Picture this: You see a description for a dream job. The title sounds great, the requirements are minimal, and the pay is fantastic. In fact, you can apply quickly via email or through a job board (no cover letter or application required!). Is this too good to be true? Maybe. Maybe not.
As a Career Center advisor, I’d want to dig a little deeper. Often, scammers will post fraudulent positions on third-party job boards with the hopes of getting applicants. Other times, these scammers will reach out directly to you (usually via email or social media) to invite you to apply or interview for a position. You should ALWAYS do your research, especially if it seems too easy.
How do I determine if the position/company in question is, in fact, sketchy? Look for the following red flags:
A company offers you a position you haven't applied for OR invites you to apply for a position without any previous contact. The latter could be legitimate but requires further investigation–see below.
The recruiter’s email address does not match the domain of the company website.
A company is requiring you to put money forward. For example:
You must provide your credit card, bank account numbers, or other personal financial documentation.
The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.
You receive an unexpectedly large check (Note: NEVER cash these! These will typically bounce and result in overdraft fees on top of dealing with a scammer having your bank account information.)
The posting or email outreach includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
The pay seems way too high for the position’s requirements. The description of the duties may be vague and focus instead on the compensation and benefits.
You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
The employer responds very quickly (within hours of applying).
The employer contacts you by phone, but does not provide a number to call them back.
Ways to proactively avoid job scams:
Look at the company’s website. Does it have an index that tells you what the site is about; or does it contain information only about the job you are interested in? Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance.
Watch for anonymity. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, company name, etc., this is cause to proceed with caution. Fraud postings are illegal, so scammers will try to keep themselves well-hidden.
Google the employer’s phone number, fax number, address and email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag. Better Business Bureau, Hoovers, and AT&T’s Anywho can be used to verify organizations.
The Career Center is here to support you. If you encounter a position that you fear may be fraudulent, don’t hesitate to reach out to us (firstname.lastname@example.org).