Avoiding Scams That Target Job Seekers

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If you find yourself in the job market, you’re likely poring over listing after listing looking for your next gig. You’ve probably noticed a few with instructions that seem a little… unusual. With that in mind, here are a few job-search scams that you need to be cautious of while conducting your search.

Payments and Paychecks

One common job-search scam post checks off all the boxes you’d expect to see. But once you’ve submitted your resume, this fraud’s victims are made to be believe that they are receiving some type of signing bonus or “advance compensation”. While some jobs will pay for pre-employment expenses (like relocation), if a job offer asks you to accept a payment prior to beginning your job, it’s probably a scam. While fraudsters are always changing up their tactics, a common aspect of this scam relies on check cashing. To be clear, legitimate employers will never ask you to complete check-cashing transactions as part of their onboarding or training process. But it’s ultimately your responsibility to question the origin of any and all checks that are cashed or deposited into your bank account.

Pay First, Get Paid Later?

Another common employment scam requires payment to your new potential employer before you start. These get-rich-quick schemes offer all the bells and whistles of a dream job – incredible salaries, flexible hours, great benefits and growth opportunities… and all you need to do is pay a small start-up cost. And while all those things may sound like a great career opportunity, legitimate employers will not ask you to “pay to play”. If a new position requires you to obtain specific certifications or licensing, you should always ask if those expenses will be reimbursed. And if you’re ever in doubt of what is required of you, do your due diligence in researching the company and ask as many questions as you need to.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…

With so many positions offering or transitioning to a work-from-home environment, the line between legitimate job listings and impostors has blurred ever further. Whether its a “job” with an upfront cost or one offering rich rewards for minimal effort tasks (like secret shopping or envelop stuffing), you might want to think twice as there’s a strong likelihood that it’s likely a scam.

Pre-Employment Information Request

We all know the nervousness and excitement of starting a new job. And we’re all familiar with the types of personal information requested during the orientation process – social security numbers for tax purposes, banking information for our direct deposits. While that information is typically safe to reveal to a manager or HR personnel once the new job has begun, you should never disclose such information before or during the interview process.

Always Do Your Research

Changing career paths or starting with a new company is stressful but while you’re casting your search net far and wide, it’s important to always do your research. Scrutinizing a job description will not only help you decide if the job or organization is right for you and your career path, but it can also help you spot the imposters and fraudulent job postings. Taking the extra time to better understand the companies you’re applying to and their history, evaluate their corporate website and social media channels. At the end of the day, even if you’re searching through well-known job sites & forums, it’s always safer to verify before clicking “Apply”.


Looking for a new job can be both exciting and daunting without the added stress of being targeted by would-be fraudsters and identity thieves. As always, a little knowledge and vigilance goes a long way. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out or

 

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