Is This Job a Scam? Top 10 Signs That It’s Too Good to Be True

If you're in the market for a new job, it's likely that you will stumble across more than a few job scams. These are phony postings that are designed to part you from your hard-earned money or personal information
identify a job scam

If you’re in the market for a new job, it’s likely that you will stumble across more than a few job scams. These are phony postings that are designed to part you from your hard-earned money or personal information.

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How do you know if a job you find online is legitimate or just another scam? Before you apply for that job that looks too good to be true, check out these ten warning signs that there’s something fishy about a potential position.

1. You Didn’t Contact Them – They Contacted You

Few, if any, potential employers will just contact you out of thin air. You typically have to contact them first or have your resume posted on an online job board.

If a potential employer contacts you directly and says they found your resume online, be wary. Also, be cautious if someone says they saw your resume on a job board that you’ve never heard of or haven’t posted to recently. Legitimate job openings don’t just drop out of the sky. 

2. It’s Too Easy

The typical hiring process takes time and effort from both the employer and potential employee. It is highly unlikely that anyone is hired in a day, let alone immediately.

For that reason, you should be suspicious if you’re offered a position without first making an application, sending a resume, conducting an interview, or even having an extensive discussion with the employer. (“Interviews” via text message or email don’t count.) If the job is too easy to land, it’s probably fake.

3. Vague Job Description or Requirements

Most legitimate hiring managers create detailed job descriptions, complete with a long list of educational and work requirements for the job. The best job descriptions describe what you’d do in the course of a typical day, what you’d be responsible for, and who you’d report to. These job descriptions leave little to chance in the detailed particulars of the open position.

The less detailed the job description, the more likely that the job doesn’t exist at all. Most scammers won’t put in the same amount of effort as a professional hiring manager would. They don’t exclude any potential targets, as they want the description to be vague enough to attract a wide variety of victims.

4. You’ve Never Heard of The Company Before

If you’ve never heard of a particular company, especially if you have extensive experience in that industry, it’s possible the job offer is a scam. Not that you’ll immediately recognize all potential employers, of course. If you get an offer from a company you’ve never heard of before, do a little online searching. Google is your friend; legitimate businesses should have an online presence and history of some sort. (But beware if the search results include warnings about the company – that’s bad, too!)

5. They Don’t Have Their Own Email Address or Domain

Legitimate businesses will have a legitimate online presence. That includes a website with its own domain and email addresses coming from that domain. If their emails come to you from a generic email service, you have to wonder why the company doesn’t have its own email domain. Check the “From:” field in the email. You want to see the company’s name there, as in jane.smith@target.com; you don’t want to see jane2020@gmail.com. The less specific the contact information, the more likely it is that the company is a fake.

6. Error-Filled Communications

Examine the emails you get from the potential employer. Real companies employ trained professionals who know how to spell and write correctly. If the email contains spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors, is this job a scam? Probably. No legitimate business will let their HR departments operate in such a slipshod manner.

7. It’s a Work from Home Opportunity

While there are plenty of legitimate jobs that don’t require you to go into an office every day, there’s also a fair amount of online work from home job frauds. These scams often make big claims about how much money you can make working from home but offer little proof. They make it seem very easy for anyone to get started, no matter your background or skills. And they probably ask for money upfront for you to get started. These “opportunities,” which you typically find in online ads, are scams, pure and simple.

8. They Want You to Provide Sensitive Information

Once you land a job you’ll naturally need to provide your new employer with some personal information, such as your Social Security number (for tax purposes) and your bank account number (for direct deposits). However, you shouldn’t have to provide this sort of information just to interview for a job. If a potential employer asks you for your SSN, bank number, credit card numbers, your mother’s maiden name, and other personal information, it’s a clear sign that you’re being scammed – and the scammer might be looking to engage in a little identity theft.

9. They Want You to Send Them Money

No legitimate employer will ask you for money. They’re supposed to be paying you, not the other way around. If you’re asked to purchase supplies that only they can provide, pay in advance for a training course, or something similar, run away. You haven’t been hired, you’ve been scammed.

10. It Doesn’t Smell Right

Use your instincts to determine whether you’re looking at real jobs or fake ones. If something doesn’t smell right about a job posting or offer, trust your nose.

In particular, be wary of positions that just seem too good to be true – the pay is too good, the process is too easy, or they need you to start immediately. If something seems off, slow things down, do more research, and start asking lots of questions. Don’t be pressured into taking a position that you’re not sure about. If it doesn’t feel right, walk away. 

Let Mapertunity Help You Find a Legitimate Job

Are you currently in the job market? Mapertunity is the world’s first fully transparent, interactive job map. We help people find the right job in the right location – and can help you avoid fake jobs.

If you’re looking for a new job, contact us at Mapertunity! We’re here to help.

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Lonnie Ayers

Lonnie Ayers

On a mission to help every job seeker find a job. Co-inventor of mapertunity, the most advanced graphical job search tool in existence. A 21st century tool for jobs and businesses.

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