How to tell if that job is a scam


It’s not always easy to tell if a job post is a scam or a genuine opportunity. Often when we see a job posting that seems too good to be true we simply assume it’s a scam, but that may not be the case.

Sometimes we get drawn to a job which seems perfect for our situation and hope soon turns to disappointment when we find out it was nothing but a phishing scam.

In the worst case scenarios people who fall for scamming job posts end up losing a lot more than hope and time, so when looking through job posts it’s important to be able to weed out the scams from the genuine job ads.

It’s very difficult for job boards to weed out every scam posted, and not for lack of trying, so it’s important that you take a few precautions before applying for jobs.

To help you do so here are some tips and warning signs to look out for, helping you to differentiate the scams from the legitimate job offers:

Never send money

This is a rule you should always abide by. No job should ever require you to give money or payment/bank details. Genuine companies and job offers don’t require employees to make any payments (with very few exceptions), so if a job requires you to make any form of payment alarm bells should be ringing immediately.

Among the few exceptions to the rule are certain agencies such as acting and modeling agencies.

Many of these will require a registration fee and expect you to cover the costs of initial photoshoots, but even then the better and more legit agencies rarely need to advertise on job boards to get clients.

If you are tempted to send any kind of payment to a company it should only be done if you are 100% sure it is legit, which means doing the appropriate research (we will talk more about this later), having gotten at least a few good references, and doing the payment in person, or after having met in person.

Forget Getting Rich Quick

One of the obvious signs that a job is a scam is when it promises you too much wealth or success. Unless it is looking for someone with a unique skill, talent, or a high level of experience it is certainly a scam. Think about it, if they could really make anyone rich through such an easy or non-skilled job they would obviously be doing it themselves, or at least giving the work to their friends and family.

Sadly many people still fall for ‘get rich quick’ offers, and it is usually those most vulnerable and desperate for employment that get tricked. Immediately dismiss any job posting that offers you way more than you know the job is worth – in this case if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Be cautious of work from home jobs

Not all work from home jobs are scams, but many are. Most freelance jobs and some writing, editing, and translating jobs, tend to be work from home positions, but you should always approach a ‘work from home’ job with caution and remember to follow the above tips and avoid those that offer too much and/or request you to send payments.

Many work from home jobs aren’t scams but may promise far more money than you’ll actually receive. I’ve noticed a lot of work from home writing and editing jobs promising potential earnings of $1000s every month, but when you actually look closer at the details, the amount of work required to reach a decent wage is unrealistic, if not impossible, and you’ll be working for less than the minimum wage.

Check the job details

Following on from the above warning, it’s important to check the details of a job closely. Often all you need to know is already in the job advert, pointing to the fact that it’s a scam (offering too much, offering too little, or simply asking you to give them money!). However, when common sense isn’t enough and you’re still unsure whether the job is a scam it’s time to do your research:

Research the company

Research the company

If it’s a legitimate job then they should have a registered company and a company website. If the company doesn’t have a website this should be an instant warning sign. If the company does have a website but it doesn’t fit with the job description or how they describe the company, this should be another warning to you. A further warning sign should be if the company email address does not belong to their own domain, ie they use an @hotmail, @yahoo, or @gmail email address rather than their own @domain.

If the company does have a website one of the first things to check is their contact detailed. If they are legitimate they should have clear contact details including office address (not PO Box) and contact numbers which work. You can also tell how legitimate the company is by the quality of the website, especially if they are a web based business.

You should also Google the company name and see what results you get; the top results should instantly give you an idea of whether they are trustworthy or simply a scam. i.e. if their top results are industry news related or you find them being referenced by other legit companies then that’s an obvious positive, if however there is little info on the company and IP and domain registration results are among the first you see then alarm bells should once again be ringing.

Check scam lists

You can check the company name on scam and warning lists such as Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission and see if they are already listed as a company to avoid. You may even spot a scam warning when Googling their company name, and if they fail to give you their company name then this is again a big warning sign.

Ultimately, if in any doubt you should err on the side of caution, and go with your instincts when something doesn’t seem right.