Whether during a downturn or a robust economy, there are always scammers out there trying to take advantage of job seekers, counting on them being eager to find a job. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can avoid falling into their trap.
The following are signs to watch for during a job search that might just mean the person you’re dealing with is after their own payday and not representing a legitimate company.
Fake Email Addresses
Beware of recruiters who contact you using an email address that is not associated with the company they claim to represent. Legitimate recruiters will have a company email address, not a personal or free email account.
Look at the email address carefully. It should contain the company’s website. For example, the Idaho Department of Labor’s website is labor.idaho.gov, and employees all have email addresses ending in @labor.idaho.gov.
If you’ve been contacted by a recruiter but you’ve never heard of the company before, it’s important to confirm the employer is legitimate. Do a Google search for the company and look at the company website. Beware of websites that only contain little or vague information. Legitimate companies often have corporate pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. The information on these pages should be complete and consistent over a long period of time.
“If a job offer or the company name sounds suspicious, it’s a good idea to use the BBB Scam Tracker to see if others have reported a similar scam,” said Veronica Craker at the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Any communication from a legitimate recruiter should be well written and should not contain obvious grammar or punctuation errors. Beware of any job offers, requests for interviews or other company communications that appear unprofessional. “Always be wary of an overly generic employment ad. Legitimate employers will list common job titles with specific requirements and a detailed job description,” Craker said.
It’s typical to be asked to do a phone interview, but beware if you are asked to interview on Google Hangouts or Yahoo Instant Messenger. “Scammers will ask to interview you as a way to phish for your personal information,” Craker said.
Another red flag is when you are asked to participate immediately in an online interview without first being given the names and titles of those who may be on the call with you or with sufficient time to prepare in advance.
Requests for Personal Information or Payments
Beware of requests for personal information including your Social Security number, bank account or credit card information before you are hired. Also, legitimate employers or recruiters will not ask for payment to secure a job. “Trust your instincts. Walk away immediately if anything about the company, the job or the interview process seems suspicious,” Craker said.
Using legitimate and verifiable job search sources is another way to avoid scammers.
“The Idaho Department of Labor has staff who are trained to identify suspicious employer accounts and job listings posted on the IdahoWorks website. Staff members take time to carefully review all new employer accounts and the associated job listings before they are approved and released for public view,” said Dan Holmes, manager of the Idaho Department of Labor Boise office.
“While no system is foolproof, the team at the Department of Labor has successfully implemented processes that regularly catch illegitimate job postings and scammers,” he added.
– The Idaho Department of Labor