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Job Posting Scams and How to Avoid Them

Newspaper job ad to illustrate job scams
June 27, 2017

Stay safe while job hunting

In the evolving world of cybercrime, it has become increasingly important to stay cybersafe while looking for a new job. Recently, there has been an increase in false job listings and bogus job board websites. These fake postings are meant to reel in job applicants to steal their money or sensitive personal information. Learn the warning signs of these criminal schemes.

What You
Should Know

Even legitimate job boards can feature fake job postings from criminals looking to steal your personal information or your money.

What You
Can Do

Know the warning signs of fake job postings: bad grammar, a too-high salary, and "no experience necessary."

42.9% of applicants search for jobs on job boards.1

Major scams to look out for

These are the popular ways criminals are targeting job applicants.

  • Fake jobs on legitimate job boards: Be wary—scammers are now posing as job recruiters and offering jobs with wildly high salaries, usually for remote positions. They will employ applicants for a period of time, then disappear with all of their financial information without paying them for time worked.
  • Spear-phishing/whaling scams: Scammers aren’t only after your personal information. Spear-phishing (attacks directed at individuals) and whaling (attacks directed at companies or executives) are on the rise for professionals. If you have your email or profile linked to a professional website, scammers can gain information about you.
  • Fake jobs on social media: There are many fake job profiles popping up on popular social media sites. Always verify the company and the recruiter by going to the company’s job listing page first.2

7 job listing red flags

Be sure to keep an eye out for job postings that are suspicious, unprofessional, and too good to be true. The following indicators should tip you off that something’s not right.

  1. The posting says “no experience necessary.” This is a telling sign that the job you’re looking at is a possible scam. Criminals use this language to trap as many victims as possible.
  2. The salary is too high for the level of the position. High salaries are a surefire way to lure in unassuming applicants. Be sure the salary is proportionate to the job you’re applying for.
  3. There are misspellings and grammatical mistakes. If a listing has one too many mistakes, it should raise your suspicions. Though anyone is liable to misspell a word or miss a comma, consistent mistakes should put you on alert.
  4. You need to pay a fee to apply for the job. Some scammers push applicants to join a job membership site or pay for a resume review or software. This is just a ploy to take your money. Often, the criminals and job offers disappear once you’ve paid for these services and programs.
  5. You need to pay a fee after you’ve been hired. Some criminals will request that applicants wire them money once they get the job. Employers should not ask anyone to pay to work. Avoid anyone that does.
  6. The company requests your personal information. Signing W-2 forms is a standard activity for your first day on the job. If the company you’re applying to begins requesting sensitive personal information, like your social security number, credit card information and more, stop and ask them why they need it.

Remain vigilant during your job search

As you progress in your job search—planning interviews and fielding emails from companies—stay mindful of your cyber safety. Research the companies and positions you’re interested in. Do your due diligence to be sure the job you want is legitimate.

If you believe you’ve been targeted by a job scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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