Tips to Help Job Seekers Avoid Job Scams

Searching for a job is hard work without the added stress of sifting through job scams and false job postings. Job seekers can be easy targets for scammers because of their eagerness to gain employment.

“Job scammers know most people looking for work will provide what they need in order to secure employment,” said John Russ, regional manager in the Idaho Department of Labor’s Meridian office.

Avoiding job scams includes knowing red flag behaviors of scams, understanding reputable places to search for work, verifying that job postings or offers are valid and knowing how to report potential job scams.

Job Scam Red Flags

Oftentimes, if the job looks too good to be true, it most likely is. According to Russ, a common job scam to look out for starts with a request for a job seeker to participate in a job interview through Yahoo! Chat or other messenger software. Job seekers are then offered the job within minutes of the interview and asked for personal information.

Avoid job scams and false postings by looking out for these common red flags:

  • Being asked to participate in an online chat interview.
  • Being asked for personal information including bank or credit card information.
  • Being asked to pay to secure your job.
  • Job postings that offer few details.
  • Unprofessional communication.
  • Anonymous emails.
  • Overpayments for the job duties listed.

Additionally, if you’re offered a job you didn’t apply for, be wary.

“Avoid the ones who are contacting you saying they found your resume online unless you’ve initiated contact first,” Russ said.

Where You Search Makes a Difference

Not all job search approaches are created equally. More reputable places to search for a job include the Department of Labor IdahoWorks, Monster and LinkedIn, staffing services and direct contact with company websites and staff.

Always verify a job posting is real before providing any personal information.

To verify if the posting is real, check the company website for the job posting or for a contact of someone at the company where you are applying.

“The main thing is to verify first,” Russ said. “It always pays to be diligent in your research.”

Reporting Job Scams

If you are unsure of a job listing or believe you are a victim of a job scam, report the job listing to an authority.

Russ recommends reporting job scams to local law enforcement or the Better Business Bureau as soon as possible.

Resources for reporting a scam:

  • Internet Crime Complaint Center: If the job scam was online, you can report to the Internet Crime Complain Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the National While Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
  • Federal Trade Commission: This consumer protection agency collects complaints about companies, business and identity theft.
  • Better Business Bureau: You can search the business you are applying to and see if there have been any complaints filed against it previously, or you can file your own complaint.

— Tabitha Bower,