As industry experts, we understand the evolving nature of job searching. Our goal is to assist job seekers in navigating the search process as smoothly as possible. This is why, in addition to our staffing services, we provide free tools for job seekers, share industry trends, and cover a wide variety of workplace topics in our blog. 

We recently conducted a social media campaign asking job seekers for their most pressing job search questions to ensure we deliver the information they want.

Introducing our You Asked, We Answered blog series!

For the next several weeks, we will cover a question asked of our network of job seekers with responses and insight from our team of staffing experts. Up first, our most requested topic, “How to Spot a Job Scam.”

How to Spot a Job Scam

With the growth of technology and the immersion of genAI, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing more advanced scamming on various job boards. Many of these scams look so legit it can be incredibly difficult to pick up on red flags. Job postings already differ greatly from company to company, and job searching right now is no easy feat. Running into a scam can bring added pressure and frustration to your search. So, how do you spot and avoid a scam while job searching? Here’s what our Staffing Consultant, KJ Kozens, has to say:

“A recently updated article published by the Identity Theft Resource Center states, ‘According to the FBI Internet Crime Center, 14,946 people reported being victims of employment scams in 2022, with losses totaling more than $52 million.’ That said, dodging job phishing scams requires scrutiny and vigilance at every stage of the application process. Although this is a constant threat, knowing what to look out for and what to avoid will prevent you from being the next victim. 

Personal Information. First and foremost, be extremely cautious about sharing personal information during the initial application phase. Under no circumstances should you ever provide sensitive details like your Social Security Number or financial account information. It is not until you accept an offer and have vetted the employer that sharing personal and financial information may be appropriate or even required. 

Payments and Deposits. Legitimate employers will never ask for upfront fees or expenses, which are more likely deducted from paychecks or handled independently. If a potential employer requests payment or sends a check for you to deposit and use for purchases, it’s likely a scam. Generally, depositing a check received from a scammer will initially result in newly added funds, but rest assured, they will disappear, leaving you financially responsible for all purchases. 

Methods of Communication. If communication is limited to text and email or you are required to download a third-party application, alarm bells should sound. Using standard communication channels like a phone call, Microsoft Teams or Zoom for interviews will prevent you from being duped by a fake job opportunity. 

Simply put, individuals seeking new job opportunities must stay vigilant, trust their instincts, and err on the side of caution.”

Active job searching already takes a lot of time, and adding extra steps to ensure you’re not wasting your time or falling into a scam can feel overwhelming. However, falling victim to a job scam can leave you in financial trouble or dealing with identity theft. While it may be frustrating to put in extra steps, it will be worth it in the long run. Here’s what our Senior Consultant, Chris Wallingford, recommends to help you do your due diligence while job searching: 

“For each job posting you find, research the company online, check out their website, and look for the job posting on their ‘Careers’ page. If you found the job on a job board, verify it is a real opening on the company’s website. Keep in mind that companies do not always post all their jobs on their website. In this case, Google the company name and the words ‘scam,’ ‘complaint,’ or ‘review.’  Zero results may not mean the company is legit, but it helps to check. 

If the job is posted by a recruiting agency, check out their website to confirm they are a genuine company. Is the job listed? If a recruiter contacts you about a job, review their profile on LinkedIn to gauge their legitimacy. Is the recruiter profiled on the firm’s website? Do not communicate solely by email or phone; require an in-person meeting or a video call. When taken together, all these steps should help ensure you are not being scammed.” 

It can be difficult and frustrating to weed through job postings to ensure they’re legit, but staying vigilant and taking these steps will help you avoid getting scammed. Be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow along on this series as we explore whether you need a cover letter and who to use as a professional reference.