7 Common Job Scams To Avoid

7 Common Job Scams Anyone Can Fall For

Since 2019, Americans have lost $737 million to employment fraud. The cost per victim has nearly doubled during the period to reach $12,000. The increased use of the internet for finding work has undoubtedly contributed to the disproportionate growth in job scams in the US. Deceptive schemes surrounding job opportunities have also become diverse and elaborate. Let’s take a closer look at the prevalent ones.

7 Common Job Scams to Guard Against

Getting caught in an employment scheme could mean losing money and personal data, performing unpaid work, and even facing legal repercussions.

You can encounter job fraud via a variety of mediums, from emails and social media DMs to online ads on networking platforms and job boards. Some may refer to permanent positions at reputable organizations, while others could offer one-off projects or remote commission-based work.

But what are the most common types of job scams anyone can fall for?

1. Fake Recruitment Ads

These can involve work that doesn’t exist, unpaid tasks, or job descriptions that deliberately mislead applicants by concealing or distorting critical information.

For instance, a sham employer could advertise on a freelancer job board, offering an attractive fixed payment for a remote one-time project. Once you complete and deliver the work, they can conveniently disappear without paying you for your time, stopping communications and closing their account.

2. Paid Applications and Training

Some con artists could reach out to you via emails or DMs, offering guaranteed work and an opportunity to earn an above-average income. But there is a condition—to process your application or to get trained on a proprietary work platform, you must make a payment. And when you do, you are unlikely to hear back from the recruiter.

These financial swindles are particularly prevalent with fake government and data entry jobs.

3. Payments for Supplies

This is another financial scam where candidates are required to make an upfront payment for supplies and equipment necessary for a fake work-from-home job.

For instance, they could ask you to make a deposit for a laptop and other work gear, promising to refund it once you stop working with them and return the equipment. However, as with other financial frauds, all contact will cease following the payment.

4. Telegram Interviews

Nowadays, many companies conduct online interviews when hiring for remote positions. Knowing this, scammers use faceless instant messaging apps, such as Telegram, to target victims under the guise of conducting an interview.

This scam is specifically aimed at tricking people into sharing personal data, such as phone numbers, SSNs, and bank account information, which criminals could use for identity and financial theft.

5. Fake Recruitment Firms

Bad actors can pose as recruitment agencies to steal personal data from candidates without raising suspicion. They could also defraud you by charging a fee for services they have no intention of delivering.

6. Fraudulent Grants for Career Development

These typically involve impersonation schemes, where criminals act as government or nonprofit agencies offering grants for skill enhancement training.

By making you believe you are applying for a legitimate program, deceptive individuals could target you for phishing. Some may even swindle money by demanding an application processing fee.

7. Shipping Job Scams

Repackaging and reshipping jobs are fairly common in the gig economy. These are commission-based remote opportunities that promise a lucrative side hustle to earn an extra income. However, many are hoaxes that dupe innocent victims.

For instance, fraudulent businesses could ask for a refundable deposit before sending you the relevant products. This is a typical financial scam where the fraudsters disappear once the payment is made.

In certain instances, criminals could also trick you into distributing stolen goods or concealed illegal items, such as drugs, under the pretext of reshipping regular products.

Protecting Yourself From Job Scams: What You Need to Know

With adequate caution and safety measures, you can detect and avoid most employment frauds.

Here are the essential steps to take.

Learn to Identify the Common Signs of Job Schemes

These include:

  • Exaggerated claims, such as high salaries, guaranteed work, and easy work-from-home opportunities with no experience required.
  • Requests for personal information before conducting an interview and confirming the hire.
  • Upfront payments are usually in the form of a wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency transaction.
  • Communications with spelling and grammar mistakes, plagiarized content, and free stock images.
  • Vague information about the business and the advertised position.

Research the Employer

Not all unsolicited job-related communications are fraudulent. Sometimes, legitimate organizations could also reach out to you directly or through a headhunter after reviewing your profiles on LinkedIn and other platforms.

So, before you dismiss a sudden email or social media DM as a scam, it is important to research the person who has contacted you and the organization they represent.

For example,

  • Reverse search their contact number on Nuwber to learn who it is.
  • Find a verified phone number for the employer and reach out to them directly to substantiate the initial communication.
  • Review their website, LinkedIn profile, and other social media accounts.
  • Research online for business reviews published by credible third-party entities, such as Glassdoor. Also, look for recent employee and customer reviews.
  • Check with your social media network for employees or customers who can provide deeper insights into the organization.

Avoid Disclosing Personal Information

Keeping your personal data private is essential for avoiding any form of scam, employment or otherwise.

Remember, frivolously sharing your identifiable information, such as email addresses and contact numbers, can make you extra susceptible to fraudulent attempts.

Even publicly announcing that you are looking for work opportunities could attract scammers and other bad actors.

Choose Reputable Job Platforms

Well-known job boards and freelancer platforms cannot completely eliminate scams. However, they have proven mechanisms in place to detect most sham employers.

For instance, they may feature company reviews left by freelancers or employees and provide escrow systems that can protect you from payment fraud. Some even screen employers by authenticating their identities.

To Summarize

Job scams can be diverse in nature, and falling for one could cost you time, money, and even your identity. Some may also leave you in legal trouble if you are not careful.

Common employment frauds involve fake ads, payments for application processing, training, and supplies, interviews on instant messaging apps, shady recruitment agencies, unverified grants, and shipping job schemes.

To avoid these, use your best judgment when reviewing job opportunities and watch out for red flags that could hint at a scam. Always research the employer to learn more about them, keep your personal information secure, and choose reputable platforms to find employment.