How To Spot and Avoid Job Scams

How To Spot and Avoid Job Scams

Are you worried that the job you’re considering applying for could be a scam? What’s the best way to avoid fake job listings and getting scammed by phony employers when job searching?

The Better Business Bureau reports that job scams are rising and are one of the riskiest in terms of prevalence, the likelihood of losing money, and the amount of money you can lose. Millions of people are exposed to job scams yearly, and victims lose more than $2 billion annually.

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of job scams, how to avoid getting taken advantage of, and what to do if you’ve been scammed.

Types of Job Scams

Most Common Job Scams

How can you get scammed during a job search? Here are some job scams to watch out for, with details of how the scam works, what to watch for, and how to avoid getting scammed.


Some jobs are more likely to be scams than others. Here’s a list from FlexJobs of 15 common job search scams, with advice on how to protect yourself from them.

New Employment-Related Scams

Bank of America reports on new scams to avoid, including scammers that pretend they are legitimate companies and ask you to download an app or provide access to your computer. Here’s how to avoid this and other common scams.

How To Avoid Getting Scammed

Here are some ways to tell if a job is a scam and to avoid getting scammed. Save yourself some time, aggravation, and money; if you’re unsure if a job or company is legitimate, check them out carefully before applying.

Know What to Look For
  • Research the company before responding to their email.
  • Carefully review the job description to look for signs that it’s a scam.
  • Be aware of a reasonable salary range for the position—and be suspicious of any offers that far exceed that range.
  • Never volunteer personal information such as bank account numbers during the interview process.
  • Remember that legitimate employers will not ask you to pay for a background check, training, or a kit in order to get started.
Check Scam Lists

Check with organizations like the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to see if the company has been reported as a scammer. If the company is a fraud, another job seeker may have reported them.

Look for Red Flags

Visit the company’s website. Look for potential red flags indicating that the company is not what they seem. Does the site fit with how they describe the company? Is it secure? How professional does the site look? Is there contact information? Are jobs and career information posted on the site?

Check Out the Company
  • Is the company name legitimate? Is this company name similar to that of another “real” organization? Sometimes, scammers change a letter or two in the website URL or the email address they are using to make it look legitimate.
  • Does the company have a website? If the company doesn’t have a website, that’s a bad sign. Most legitimate businesses have a web presence, and at least some information should show up when you search for it online.
  • Check the Google search results. Use Google to research the company. Search by the company name to see what information you can find. (If the company won’t give you a name, don’t bother applying.) Take it one step further and search by “company name scam” to see if you can find information about reported scams.
  • Check social media. Most major organizations have a presence on LinkedIn and social media. Visit the company’s pages to review what type of information they are posting. Also, check the comments to see what people are saying (good or bad) about the organization.
  • Read the reviews. If you find a company that has been reported to be a scammer, read the reviews carefully to understand the issue and how the job seeker was taken advantage of.
Check the Job Details

If compensation isn’t listed in the job posting, try to find out if there’s a salary or if you’re paid on commission. Ask how much you’re paid, how often you are paid, and how you are paid. If the company doesn’t pay an hourly rate or a salary, carefully check out the details.

Does the Company Want Money?

Do not pay money—for anything. Legitimate employers don’t charge to hire you. Don’t pay for credit reports, background checks, start-up kits, software, supplies, technology, training, or other tools or procedures. Don’t send money for work-at-home directories, advice on getting hired, company information, products, or services to get started, or for anything else related to a job.

Check the Company’s References

Ask for references if you’re not sure if the company is legitimate. Request a list, then contact the references to ask how the job is working out for them. If the company isn’t willing to provide references, don’t waste your time applying.

Don’t Expect to Get Rich Quick

Avoid listings that guarantee you wealth and financial success or that will help you get rich fast. Stay clear of listings that offer high income for working a few hours a week. The chances of getting rich quickly online are slim to none.

Does It Sound Too Good to Be True?

If it sounds too good to be true, you can be sure it is. Also, read any “offers” you get very carefully. With some scams, it can be hard to tell what’s real and fake. Read the fine print and never share your personal information until you’re sure about a company.

Spot and Report Scams on Job Sites

Some of the major sites have advice on how to avoid scams on their platforms. If you’re concerned about a job posting you’ve found, here’s how to check it out.


How To Report a Scam

Have you become a victim of a scam? There are several ways to report a job scam, including:


Tip: Review the top 10 warning signs that a job is a scam to avoid getting scammed.

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  • September 24, 2023