Job Seekers Beware: Tips to Avoid the Trap of an Online Job Scam

If searching for a job wasn’t challenging enough, job seekers these days must second guess every job application as scammers target them to steal their money. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, job fraud is on the rise, even more so during the global pandemic.
There are multiple types of online job scams, including the impersonation of real organizations and fake companies. Some scammers go as far as creating websites and profiles on social networks such as LinkedIn to trick job seekers. Many large and local brands have been the victims of job scammers impersonating them online, through social media, and the damage can be significant. Even employment agencies aren’t immune, with scammers, many overseas, posing as agencies to collect cash for a fake job opportunity.
Scammers steal trademarked logos and create fake emails or websites using a variation of a company’s brand name or domain to legitimize their contact information. It can be incredibly difficult to determine if a job is fake or real. Here are some tips to help you spot a fake ad and avoid being trapped.
How to spot a fake job posting
With job searches prominently done online, scams are becoming more difficult to spot. Fake jobs can even be found on well-known job boards. Just because the job you found is posted on a legitimate job board like Indeed or ZipRecruiter, it doesn’t mean that job is, in fact, real. Job boards are doing their best to spot and remove fake job ads, but with the enormous amount of job data, it can be challenging to pull them down in time. Here are a few giveaways the job make be a scam:
  1. Poorly written job descriptions. Job postings with grammatical errors and vague details are usually a tell-tale sign you may be looking at a fake job ad.
  2. Questionable contact details. Be on the lookout for strange or unknown area codes for phone numbers or random, unprofessional email addresses from free web-based email services. If the email address doesn’t match the company, that’s a major red flag.
  3. They ask for money. No legitimate employer in Canada will ever request money for anything during the job search or onboarding process. Requesting money is your biggest clue. Never send funds to anyone.
  4. They somehow found you. If you didn’t contact them yourself, be alert. Now, this is not necessarily an indicator of a scam but remember that scamming techniques these days are sadly designed to exploit common practices to seem legitimate. Many reputable companies often do reach out directly. Always good to double-check just in case.
  5. You can’t find information on the company online. A Google search should bring up sources for information about a company or even a person. If you can’t find anything, it could possibly be a scam.
  6. You can’t find the position on the employer’s official website. Even if the job is on a job board, always visit an employer’s official website and cross-reference that the same position is on their site. If it’s not there, this could be an indicator of a fake job. But beware: scammers may even copy real jobs to trick you. Applying to a job on the Employer’s career site is a best practice.
  7. The website domain is different from the official brand. A great way to know if you are on the official website is to confirm the web address with their Google listing, social media accounts, or online directories. When in doubt, call to confirm.
Best practices to avoid getting trapped
  • Do your research. Run a Google search and review social accounts.
  • Always check the employer’s official website.
  • Don’t give your personal information to anyone unless you have met them in person or until you are sure they are the real deal.
  • Call the office to confirm.
  • Never transfer money for a job opportunity, ever.
  • Follow your instincts: If it seems too good to be true, it likely is.

Being the victim of job fraud is absolutely devastating. As a community, we all play a role in helping generate awareness and protect one another. At David Aplin Group, we have a recruitment fraud warning on our career site, reminding job seekers that we never charge for a job opportunity. If you believe or know for a fact that a job ad is fake, please consider reporting it.