Every week, thousands of job openings are posted to online job boards and social media sites. With this influx of opportunities, it is best to understand not all listings are done in good faith. There are individuals and groups who understand the value of information acquired from job applications. Names, addresses, and emails are only a few pieces of personal identification that have become extremely valuable within the last several years. This article is not to discourage you from applying to your dream job, but to teach you the signs of job opportunity scams.
What is a Job Scam?
A job scam can look nearly identical to a legitimate job opportunity. Scammers promise a job, great pay, and amazing benefits without the resources nor intentions to deliver them. These people either want your money, personal information, or both. As companies shift more of their hiring processes online, scammers make that shift as well.
The following are signs a job listing is a scam:
- It’s too good to be true.
- There are little to no requirements or qualifications to get the job.
- Lack of credible information can be found on the company.
- Communication skills are poorly exhibited.
- Recruiter is overly eager to hire.
- There are “pay to participate” requirements before being hired.
Too Good to be True
The idea of being paid a full-time salary for part time work is quite appealing. Scammers are aware of how enticing such an offer could be and may post a position under this guise. Take a step back and truly assess the offer; do the qualifications and job requirements align with what a reasonable salary should be? Be realistic with your expectations and understand your own qualifications for the role. Trust your gut if you have a weird feeling about what you’re reading or being told. If you’re still unsure, talk to a trusted friend, family member or neighbor and get a second opinion.
No Valid Qualifications / Job Requirements
If a job listing uses vague language or cannot specifically outline how the role contributes to the company, take that as a red flag. Trustworthy job offers will outline the education level required, certifications necessary, or previous work experience that transitions into said position (such as supervisor to manager). Scan the listing for names of programs and applications the company uses, e.g., “Proficient in Amazing Health Patient Portal” or “One (1) year of clerical experience required”. Scam offers likely won’t outline specific requirements because that would limit their applicant pool.
Lack of Credibility
So, you’ve come across a great job offer that seems legitimate, but you’ve never heard of the company. This is quite common, and not an immediate red flag – do a quick internet search of the company’s name. Look for a company site or reviews from previous or current customers. It is rare for a company to have no Internet or social media presence today. If your search results cannot specifically point to the company, you can check through the Better Business Bureau. They provide company profiles, as well as scam trackers across industries.
Online reviews can also be a key indicator of a company’s legitimacy. If you do find reviews, take note of their time stamp and nature of the review. Several positive reviews posted closely together could have been pumped by the employed to seem legitimate. No company will offer perfect service for everyone, even your favorite ice-cream shop has had an unhappy customer.
If you’ve already applied for a position, or want to make further inquiries, pay attention to the company’s communication. Emails should come from a company registered email account, not Gmail® or Yahoo®. Grammar and punctuation should be well-written, as well as formal in tone. A legitimate job offer will not contain slang or text language. The point of contact should provide their name, job title, and an alternate form of communication. Feel free to research this individual and their role through a search engine or a website such as LinkedIn®.
Overly Eager to Hire
In the hiring process, there can be weeks to even months between the initial application and starting the job. If a recruiter or company is spamming you with calls, texts, or emails to accept a job, it is likely a scam. Hiring a new employee can be expensive, and no business is out to waste resources on hiring just anyone. Never, under any circumstance, share your personal information through an email, text, or phone call. Scammers may claim you can skip the interview process or start working immediately. Interviews are for employers to learn about you and vise versa – it is the most critical element to filling an empty role.
Pay to Participate
A legitimate company or job opportunity will not ask you to pay for any part of job recruitment. Remember, hiring is expensive for them, not for you. You should not be asked to pay for your background check, drug test, or resumé review. Do not send them money for software you supposedly need to be hired, or a fee to review your credit report.
Be diligent in protecting yourself as you look to step up in your career or try something new. There is copious opportunity available, so do plenty of research and never allow yourself to be coerced or rushed into a job.
Steps to Take If You've Been Scammed
In the event that you have given out personal or financial information to a scammer, follow these steps:
- Go to IdentityTheft.gov to report your situation. This federal website provides resources to recovering your identity and step-by-step guidance on moving forward.
- Contact your bank or financial institution if account or card information is involved; ask that cards be turned off or accounts closed to avoid fraudulent activity.
- Ensure passwords are changed for any websites, applications, or devices used at the time of the scam. You are not aware of the tools the scammers have or their exact intentions and it is best to protect your hardware and software.
Real Career Opportunities in Banking
Bank Independent has a vision to be both the bank of choice and the employer of choice in the communities we serve. Since 1947, we've hired thousands of local, talented team members. We are an equal opportunity employer, that offers competitive pay, excellent benefit and career development opportunities. Visit our careers section to find your opportunity:
- Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
- All applicants must successfully pass a background and credit check.
- Select from our open positions and submit an application.
- Submit your resume to our talent community for consideration for specialized roles.