5 Ways to Spot Scams in Your Job Search

Job Search Scams

You apply to about 10-15 jobs a day, you’re tired from whatever life tasks are in your daily routine, it took you about a good hour to find a job you would be interested in and is hiring, and the last thing you think about before hitting that submit resume button is: Is this job ad a scam?

It’s hard enough to get any call backs from job posts online, so wouldn’t you like to save some time and submit your resume to a real company that is actually hiring?

If your answer is yes, here are some tips to help you spot any red flags in a job post:

1. There isn’t a company name in the ad.

This may not be true for all job ads, but it’s one you should consider. While companies use “blind job posts” for their own protection, there can be a negative side to it.

According to USD Career blog, “blind ads can be used to gather personal information about individuals as part of an identity theft scheme.”

It might be in your best interest to not include too much information about yourself in job ads without a company name just in case. If you happen to get contacted for an interview, ask for the company’s name so you can do some research before agreeing to anything. How else will you ace that interview if you know nothing about the company?

2. The e-mail address ends in @yahoo, @gmail, @hotmail, etc.

Not all companies have a company e-mail, especially if they’re just starting out. However, if there’s a company name in the ad, you’ve done your research, and they’re a well-known company, not having a professional e-mail might be something you should consider looking into.

PrivacyRights.org—a non-profit dedicated to protecting privacy—says it is concerning if a job ad includes a company name, but has “an e-mail address that is not a primary domain.” You might want to put on your investigative hat and see if you can find a contact phone number of the company so you can verify the job ad as well as the legitimacy of the company.

3. The person of contact cannot be found through a simple Google search.

Not everyone can be found through a Google search, but if you’re an employer, chances are you can be found on the Internet. Whether it’s on social media sites like LinkedIn or Google+, there should be some type of information about your employer somewhere.

4. They offer you the job within 24 hours of sending your application.

While it would be nice for an employer to immediately recognize your many talents, you have to remember that there is a process to go through, and because we’re in a recession and jobs are scarce, it’s easy to get excited when a potential employer wants to hire you.

Earlier this year, I applied to a job on JournalismJobs.com for a feature writer position for a publication that turned out to be in Canada. The publication was real, but the job ad wasn’t. The recruiter offered me the job and payment within a day without even discussing my first assignment. Though I felt I was qualified for the position, it seemed too good to be true that someone wanted to pay me without using my services first.

The lesson here: Any company worth working for will want to get to know you before offering you a paycheck for your skills.

5. They want to pay you before you even start working.

Some scam artists like to send checks to their victims as a way of getting into their bank accounts. In an article on the MSNBC website, 1.3 million Americans were victims of check scams in 2009.

How does this work? They mail you a check, sometimes overnight, then you are asked to deposit the check and send a portion back to a third party. It may seem like the check has cleared, so you send the portion requested to said third party. By the time the bank learns the check is bad, the check bounces leaving you out of the funds you were asked to send back.

Remember, looking for a job takes time and your time is valuable. So the next time you are searching for a job online, scan the ad thoroughly before sending off your resume.