Warning signs that the job ad you’re reading is actually a scam
There are some unscrupulous jerks out there who prey on people who need jobs. They post scam jobs online to try to swindle you out of your money, your time, or your personal information. Mostly these fraudulent job postings appear on the free classified sites where there is little review of the content and no way to verify its accuracy.
Sometimes crooks even try to get their posts on legitimate career sites like Workopolis, Monster, and LinkedIn. This is much harder to do, as we have rigorous screening methods in place to weed out fraudsters and their job postings.
Still with your time, money, and even your identity on the line, you can’t be too careful.
Warning signs that the job ad you’re reading is actually a scam:
Watch out for employers contacting you through free email providers like Yahoo! Gmail or Hotmail. Real employers almost always use corporate email addresses.
Read carefully for grammar and spelling mistakes in the emails or online. As many online scams originate oversees, the scammers are often not working in their first language which can lead to more frequent errors than you’d see in legitimate communications. (Or they could just be jerks born and raised right here – but grammar and spelling often aren’t criminals’ strong suit.)
Does the information on the company’s website match what they’ve been telling you? Do they even have a website? If not, what comes up when you Google them? The web is a powerful research tool for finding out about companies – and crooks.
Another thing to watch out for is the ‘too good to be true‘ offer. If an employer offers you a job by email, without having met you, that pays a lot of money, and you never have to go into an office – it’s probably a fake.
Job postings that read like barkers at the carnival with lots of exclamation marks !!! and dollar signs $$$ are probably frauds. Real companies looking to hire real talent don’t do this.
The same goes for ‘testimonials‘ where they’ve included a story such as the ‘housewife who made an extra $50,000 from home in her spare time!” No, she didn’t.
If you’re simply offered the job without interviewing for it, watch out. Employers source candidates through the web all the time, of course. But they don’t actually hire them until they’ve discussed the candidates’ skills and experience, the demands and duties of the role, and the fit with the organizational culture.
Three kinds of online job scams and how to spot them
First off, the most obvious safety tip is to never send a company any money. Legitimate employers don’t ask job prospects to pay an upfront fee, so if you are asked for a credit card number or to transfer any cash, it’s probably a scam.
Some scammers also play a shell game of sending you a larger cheque to ‘hold’ for them, while you transfer a smaller amount to a subsidiary of theirs. The cheque always bounces. Don’t do it.
Don’t share your Social Insurance Number until after you’ve been hired. This means you’ve met your potential employer in person, seen their offices, and signed a contract. Another target for creeps other than money is the information they need for identity theft. Don’t give it to them.
There was a recent scam going around where an employer claimed to hire candidates over the phone, and said they would be setting up their offices soon. They asked candidates to forward their banking information and SIN number for processing so they could pay them. Then they asked to the ‘new hires’ to go out and purchase office furniture and supplies for the soon to be opened local offices.
The offices were never to be opened; the job and company never really existed. All they wanted were those bank account details and SIN numbers so they could perpetrate identity fraud.
Watch out for job postings that list earning potential rather than actual earning. Especially “unlimited earning potential.” Read the job description carefully. Sometimes positions listed as ‘events’ or ‘marketing’ are actually sales roles that ask you to purchase products upfront in order to resell them to others before you see any profit. In this case, sure you’ll make more money if you sell more, but the risk is all on you. The company made its income the minute they offloaded the goods to you.
Beware of long periods of unpaid training. Especially for relatively uncomplicated jobs. This can be a technique to simply get you to work for free. It can also mean that the company has a poor working environment with a high turnover rate, so they want to see if you’ll stick around and what you’ll put up with before they actually start paying you.
Here at Workopolis, we’re also continuously evaluating the job posting review process and adjusting for new indicators as the potential scams evolve to ensure the safety of our candidates and clients. If you spot anything suspicious on our site, please let us know right away. Stay safe out there everyone!