The Internet can be a great resource for job hunting and helps a lot of people find employment, but just as with any other part of the Internet, cons are rampant and certain precautions are needed to protect your identity. Job scams seem to all be the same, usually involving a fake check and convincing story, yet many still fall victim to them. How can you guard yourself against these menacing scams? Here are some ways you can better recognize the signs of fraudulent online job postings.
If it’s too good to be true. Does it seem too good to be true? That’s because it probably is. If the job description offers a lot of money for little or simple work, you should be questioning it. This is a huge red flag for a scam. In the end, you should always trust your gut when looking for work online. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably because it isn’t. If you’re internet savvy, you know the basic warning signs of fraudulent activity: excessive exclamation points, bad grammar, the use of dollar signs, making wild and seemingly impossible promises, et cetera. As a job seeker, you might be really eager to find employment, but don’t let that obscure your better judgment. Sutton Fell, the CEO of FlexJobs explained in an interview with U.S. News & World Report that scam artists tend to take advantage of the heightened stress that comes with unemployment and find some of their easiest targets for identity theft.
If it’s one of these jobs. Fell explained that scam artists tend to list a few different kinds of jobs that seem like fairly simple work. These jobs include data entry, shipping packages, pyramid schemes, money movement and processing forms. You should be especially cautious if you find a listing for this type of work and be on alert for other warning signs of a scam.
If there’s no company website. A legitimate job posting should provide ample information about the organization or company. If not, take it as a red flag that there’s something suspicious going on there. However, some job scams do use real company’s names and website in their postings. If you’re getting the job listing off a secondary website, go to the company’s page and verify that they posted the job. Usually they will also have the same listing on their own website.
If it’s on one of these sites. While it’s possible that a scam can come from any listing online, certain websites have had frequent reports of them and require a little more caution. Craigslist is one of the biggest sources for job scams, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise as Care.com and Sittercity.com, who help employ babysitters and nannies. Because of the nature of a babysitting job, it’s harder to tell what’s real since it’s not typically run through a legitimate business with a website and other sources of background research. To stay safe from these babysitting job scams, never accept money from the employer before you’ve done any work. This is how scammers get you a bad check and access your bank account.
If you’re asked for personal information. If the employer is asking for personal information before you’ve even met them or been hired, walk away. Or, if you have been hired and the company is asking for your money, under the front of buying supplies or setting up your direct deposit, this is most likely a scam. You should never share your social security number or bank account information unless you’re confident you’ve been hired by a legitimate business.
It’s important to be selective with what kind of information you share online, especially when looking for a job. This can help reduce vulnerabilities to ID theft . For additional protection, be sure to invest in a credit monitoring service, which can notify you of certain activities that may indicate fraud. With that information, you’ll know whether you have to obtain a credit freeze or pursue damages related to your compromised identity.