Beware of Scammers

Scam Alert
While most posted jobs are legitimate, there are unfortunately many people out there who are trying to take advantage of desperate job seekers by posting fraudulent job opportunities. Understanding the red flags that give them away is important.

BIG RED FLAG #1: You must provide your credit card, bank account numbers, PayPal account, or other personal financial documentation

Legitimate jobs will not ask for this kind of information on an application or via email or by phone.

BIG RED FLAG #2: You are asked to forward payments, by wire, courier, bank transfer, check or through PayPal…

This is a clear red flag. Never forward payments as they want access to your personal finances!

BIG RED FLAG #3: The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier (EX: UPS, FedEx).

Legitimate jobs never ask for an initial investment. Some network marketing companies may ask for a fee to obtain their sample product for demonstration. However we do not post such positions as they are asking for money so you can have a job.

You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often for depositing checks or transferring money).

Legitimate employers do not need to use your bank account! This is a classic scam with new twists. Do not allow any “employers” to use your bank account since their checks are often fraudulent and will bounce, leaving you to cover the consequences. In-home “check processing services” are a recent version of this scam.

You receive an unexpectedly large check (checks are typically slightly less than $500, generally sent or deposited on Fridays).

If you do not know where this is coming from, do not cash it! These checks will typically bounce but you will be held responsible for all the bank charges and money you have used, wired, or processed.

The position states you will be working from home.

Most formal jobs have you working at an office as your base. “Working from home” may be a convenience hook that takes advantage of people’s busy schedules. This may be legitimate if you are a “1099 independent contractor” rather than a regular employee. Always carefully research these jobs.

Anonymous post. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact information, a name the company name, etc. – this is cause to proceed with extreme caution.

Fraudulent postings are despicable and are designed to take you in without you knowing you are being scammed, so the scammers will try to keep themselves well hidden.

Phone number is not available or disconnected. The employer contacts you by phone, however, there is no way to call them back.

A legitimate business wants to be reachable for clients, business partners, and applicants – so the number will have to be active!

Quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance 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?

Legitimate organizations and companies will use their website to attract clients and customers, not just potential employees.

Double check the URL – is it a real company website?

The employer tells you that they do not have an office in your geographic area and will need you to help them get a “new” office up and running.

Sounds exciting right? But these postings often include a request for your banking information to supposedly help the employer make transactions. What they really want is access to your bank account and money.

Website mismatch: The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company (often a Fortune 500 Company). Yet the domain in the contact’s email address does not match the domain used by the representatives of the company.

Legit recruiters are directly associated with the company for whom they work. Therefore the email addresses used should match the company’s domain.

Questionable email: The contact email address contains the domain, or a non-business email domain.

The email should always come from an official email address that reflects the organization’s domain or a subsidiary of the organization. Employer email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo!, etc., all suggest the employer does not have an official company domain.

The “employer” is using a personal email address instead of a company email address.

Same as above – the email should be associated with the company. Employment communications have to be official so why not use an official email address?

The “company” website is not active, does not exist or re-routes users to another website that is unaffiliated even though they listed a website in the job announcement.

A significant red flag, if a company mentions a website that is not working, does not exist, or goes to an unassociated site then it’s likely the company is not real.

The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.

Poor spelling and grammar suggests the posting was written by a non-professional therefore the job posting is unlikely to be legitimate.

A suspiciously high salary or wage is listed for a job that requires minimum skills.

Think carefully – how many legitimate companies can afford high wages for low skilled jobs? Why would they pay these wages?

Key terms and phrases are used that suggest access to the top level of company management and you are a student (Ex: CEO, Co-founder, CFO, etc.)

It is possible that selected candidates have access to top level management but is rare for a student. The times it does happen is where there are specific management training programs that bring C-level leaders to meet future leaders within the company.

The job is for a start-up business, a new small private company, or other entrepreneurial enterprise getting off the ground

This is a red flag because scam artists use startups as an exciting creative hook. These may very well be legit jobs – but you need to research it carefully.

The position initially appears as a traditional job, but upon further research it sounds like an independent contractor opportunity.

Independent contractor jobs (1099 type self-employment) means you will be on your own and are accountable for all associated IRS tax obligations. You will not have benefits and are not really an employee of the company. A contract must be made between you and the parent company. If there isn’t one, do not apply!

You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.

In the U.S., most legitimate jobs do not ask for a photo. Some scam artists are unaware this is standard procedure indicating they are posting from another country.

Questionable job titles: The position is for any of the following: Envelope Stuffers, Home-based Assembly Jobs, Online Surveys, Check Writing and Processing.

This is not to say these positions are always fraudulent. However jobs offering flexible hours and great pay may only be after your information!

The posting neglects to mention what the responsibilities of the job actually are. Instead the description focuses on the money to be made.

Legitimate employers will provide a good description of the job responsibilities and duties to see if you are a good fit for the position. The description also should state the work location.

 The employer responds to you immediately after you submit a resume. Typically resumes need to be reviewed by several individuals for the hiring process. This does not include auto email responses from employers however.

True employers take their time to sort through applications to find the best candidates. Fraudulent jobs are just looking for your information which is why they respond so quickly. They are hoping an immediate response will entice you to give up your information.