How To Avoid 6 Common Job Search Scams

Job search scams are on the rise in both quantity and complexity. Here are 6 common scams and how to avoid them in your search!

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This article on common job search scams is part of the Coaching Collective series, featuring tips and expertise from Flatiron School Career Coaches. Every Flatiron School graduate is eligible to receive up to 180 days of 1:1 career coaching with one of our professional coaches. This series is a glimpse of the expertise you can access during career coaching at Flatiron School. 

I’ve got good news and bad news. 

Let’s start with the bad news. Job search scams are on the rise and unfortunately, they are becoming more successful. In today’s digital world, scammers take advantage of people’s fears and anxieties. It’s easy to scroll through social media feeds filled with stories of economic hardships and desperation for work. Scammers prey on vulnerability, offering opportunities that seem too good to be true or asking you to do something you normally wouldn’t do. 

Now comes the good news. There’s no need to live in fear or assume that everyone who reaches out to you is trying to run a scam. By equipping yourself with knowledge of these scams and learning how to avoid them, you can empower yourself and navigate through the job search process with confidence. 

In this article, you’ll find valuable tips on how to protect yourself from 6 of the most common job search scams. 

What Is The Goal of Scammers?

To effectively avoid job search scams, it’s important to first understand their goal. Knowing what the scammer wants can help you identify when something is fishy.

In general terms, the goal of job search scams is to deceive job seekers and exploit them for financial gain or personal information. They want to con you into providing them with information that they can’t get on their own. This could be banking information, actual money, login credentials, social security numbers, or something else.

Scam #1: Stealing Personal Information

Scammers acquire personal information from resumes and online profiles. 

Scam Buster: Be selective about what you share on resumes and online profiles. Don’t share sensitive information such as your full address or date of birth. Consider creating an email address specifically for your job search. Instead of providing specific employment dates on your resume, mention the duration of your experience in years. Be cautious about the platforms you choose to upload your resume to and stick to reputable job portals and networking sites. Regularly review and update your privacy settings on social media and networking sites.

Scam #2: Fake Job Ads

Scammers copy a real job posting and make it look like it’s an opportunity posted by an official company. They then post the fake job posting onto job boards. 

Scam Buster: Stay aware by verifying job openings. Use official company websites or other verified sources to make sure the posting is legitimate. Make it a best practice to apply directly to official company websites. Pay attention to the language and formatting of the job posting. Genuine job ads are more likely to be well-written and properly formatted. Be on the lookout for job ads that promise high salaries or extraordinary benefits without a detailed job description. If it seems too good to be true, proceed with caution. Only use trusted job boards and reputable recruitment agencies when searching for jobs. 

Scam #3: Job Offer Without An Interview

You’ve submitted your resume and the company responds with a job offer before you’ve interviewed.  

Scam Buster: Legitimate employers typically want to assess a candidate’s qualifications and fit for the position through interviews and discussions. Research the company. Look for their official website, online presence, and reviews from current and former employees. Trust your gut and be cautious. Reach out to the company directly to verify the job offer. Use contact information from the company’s website or another reliable source. You can even request an interview to get answers to your questions about the position.   

Scam #4: Random Reach Outs

Someone reaches out saying they’ve received your resume and want to move you forward in the interview process. Of course, this could be great news and not necessarily a scam. However, things get tricky if you don’t remember the company or even applying for a position. 

Scam Buster: Make it a best practice to track your resume submissions and sites to which you have posted your resume and profile. For tracking, you can create a simple spreadsheet or use a sheet of paper. If asked, don’t give identifiable information or bank account numbers. Search for the person that reached out to you on a reputable networking site. Check the company the official company website to see if the job ad is posted. If the job ad isn’t posted on the company website, reach out to the company, and verify that it’s a real opportunity. 

Scam #5: Check Cashing

You receive a job offer but the next step is to accept a company check, cash it, buy equipment, and return the remaining funds to the company.  

Scam Buster: Always be skeptical of job offers that involve receiving checks and being asked to buy equipment or send money back. Carefully review the job offer and verify the authenticity of the company. Contact the company through verified channels and reach out to any references provided during the recruitment process. Employers typically handle financial matters directly. No legitimate employer will ask you to deposit a check and send money back as part of your job responsibilities.  

Scam #6: Requests for Personal Information

Online applications or interview platforms that require personal information before you can log in. Fake recruiters may claim they need your details to pass them on to a hiring manager or facilitate your application, set up an interview, or move you forward in the hiring process.  

Scam Buster: Proceed with caution. Before giving any information ensure that the website or platform is secure and trustworthy. Review the privacy policies and terms of service of the online application or interview system. Make sure it clearly states how your personal information will be handled, stored, and protected. If you have questions or concerns, reach out to their customer support for clarification. 

Limit the information you provide and only provide the necessary details required to create an account or proceed with the application. Don’t share sensitive information such as your social security number or financial data unless necessary and justified. Beware of any signs of phishing or fraudulent activity. Check for suspicious or mismatched URLs. If you suspect the site fraud, report it to the website or platform administrators.

Final Thoughts

In the world of job searching, it’s important to trust your instincts and remain aware. While job search scams do exist, it’s important not to live in constant fear or be overly suspicious of every opportunity. If something feels off or too good to be true, take a step back and reassess the situation. Empower yourself by doing thorough research, verifying information, listening to your gut, and approaching each opportunity with a balanced mindset.  By doing this, you’ll be prepared to identify and avoid scams and find your next opportunity!

About Aimee Thompson

Aimee Thompson is an ICF Certified Coach with Flatiron School. Her background is in coaching, human resources, customer success, recruiting, and training and development. Her passion is partnering with her clients to help them thrive outside of their comfort zone and create a life they love.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of July 5, 2023. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

About Aimee Thompson

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