Warning Signs of Job Scams and How to Protect Yourself

Job scams are some of the most predatory scams a victim can fall for; between the desire to stay home and the necessity for a higher income, anyone can fall prey to them. Hiring scams are particularly insidious because the scammers want more than money—they want your personal information and records. These scams can come in various (but terrible) flavors, which increases the chance that individuals will fall for them.

Employment scams operate differently depending on the goals of the scammer and the technology they have available to them. In some cases, scammers may send products or work to their victims—this doesn’t mean they aren’t a scam; in other instances, signs like urgency, high pay for little work, or registration fees should halt the conversation. This article outlines the most common types of scams, their warning signs, and how to avoid them.

The Most Common Types of Job Scams

Most people who fall victim to job scams fall because they seek additional income. The need for supplemental income can put blinders on the victim because they are in sensitive situations; job scammers then look for and target those in these situations. Targeted classic or internet marketing campaigns aren’t just for big-box stores, after all.

There are commonalities between job scams that make them significantly different from real opportunities; how you learn to identify them in real life requires a mixture of common knowledge, wits, and proactive research.

The most common scams that result in victims are work-from-home scams. There are many types and forms these scams can take, for example:

●       Low-skill positions: jobs like data entry can be facades for scammers. The “employer” requires you to purchase training or equipment and then underpays. Reselling merchandise and rebate processors are also commonly seen as fronts for job scammers since they can promise high income if you “work hard enough.”

●       Pyramid or multi-level marketing: recruitment scams are some of the most harmful to the victims. Stuffing envelopes is a variation of these scams. Don’t fall subject to a sunk-cost fallacy; you can always walk away

●       Reshipping or assembling work: jobs like these are fronts. There is no actual work happening here. These scams make the victim pay a nonrefundable fee to work, then they ignore or reject shipments and products.

Another common type of scam is fake job offer scams. These are typically sent by a “recruiter or employer” with the pretense that they saw you on a job board. Even the most cautious of people may fall victim to these scams. Avoid fake job offer emails by taking note of the information they want from you. If they want any of the following, proceed carefully (or not at all):

●       Your driver’s license: They can get your name, birthday, and address from this.

●       Your Social Security Number: They can steal your identity and money with this.

●       Your banking information: They can wire money out of your account from this.

●       Your retirement information: They can commit medical fraud or submit claims.

●       Your personal information: They can commit crimes, then blame you.

job scams

The Clearest Warning Signs of a Job Scam

Scammers get better at their jobs every year—but the public becomes more informed yearly too. Job scams are dangerous when prospects become victims but knowing the warning signs will help you avoid being victimized. Once you know what to look for, finding and avoiding scams is easy:

●       No legitimate job will require you to pay for training, fees, memberships, materials, certificates, or anything else.

●       Employment scams may send you an employment contract in advance. They may say it is easier logistically, but this should raise caution flags.

●       Some scammers will “spoof” legitimate email addresses, trying to seem professional. You should check any offers you receive through an email records database. Ensure that you check the website of the company as well; it is easy to dupe the laity between websites like “cheese.com” (real) versus “cheese4u.com” (not real).

●       Companies will write clear and concise job descriptions and contracts. Fake job offers commonly contain grade-school grammatical errors and poor writing.

●       Hiring companies are upfront about the details of their positions. There is nothing vague about a 9-5 mechanics job, but a 10-12 personal assistant is weird. The weirdness continues if the scammer is offering little to no job details.

●       Scammers may try to get you onto the phone with them; they can use trained verbal skills to pressure you into giving them information. In the case of job scams, they may require the prospective employee to download unfamiliar software for "secure communications." They are actually downloading malicious software. Genuine companies will always use a secure, trusted, widely known platform for communication outside the company servers.

How to Avoid Job Scams and Find Your Career

Avoiding them altogether is the best way to protect yourself against job scams. Approach every job opportunity cautiously until you know the company is real. You can limit your chances of interacting with scammers by researching the prospective company before applying for any position. When looking into a company's legitimacy, consider seeking advice from web design experts who can provide insights into the online presence and credibility of the organization.

You must follow your instincts but make judgments backed by evidence. If something feels off, but your follow-up research shows the offer is reliable—ask more questions before giving any information. Also, ensure that during any interviews, you can ask questions, give comments, and have room to negotiate. Never accept a job offer if you feel pressured into the position because of an emergency or "railroading." Genuine career opportunities have room for growth and development; look for these aspects when approaching any offer. You can use trustable job search platforms when conducting your search to avoid scams.

Read All About Scams to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Everyone wants to make a little extra money, but we must be careful when approaching strangers. Job scams are some of the many scams anyone can fall victim to; romance scams, email scams, retirement scams, and many more make victims every day. You can protect yourself and your loved ones by reading more about these scams and being cautious with your information.