Fake Jobs

Job sites exist to help people find work. Their goal is noble, but they have become a hotbed for scammers. Sites will have this problem if anyone can post jobs. Worse, scammers are getting very good at pretending to be authentic.

You must be aware and careful when applying to positions if you’re a job-seeker. Avoid the 1-click apply and easy-apply types of features. Tools like these make applying for jobs more accessible and create an easy way for scammers to bait their victims. Instead, a little due diligence can save your identity from being stolen. If you like the job description, go to the company’s website and see if it’s listed there.

Often careers are listed as a link at the bottom of a company’s page. If not, look around and try the about us section. If you don’t see the listing anywhere, report the fake listing to the platform (i.e., Indeed, LinkedIn, zip recruiter, etc.). Also, use the contact us form most places have to let them know what’s going on. If you can, provide a link to the fake post. They can report it to the authorities, which helps get these scammers out of cyberspace.

If you fall victim to a scammer, it’s crucial to take preventive action immediately to avoid getting taken to the cleaners.

  • Did you share your social security number? Call Experian to get a flag on your SSN so no one can take out a line of credit in your name.
  • Was your banking information shared? Contact your bank and tell them. They can help you protect your money. Even if you aren’t sure you need to worry, it’s best to be safe.

It’s hard enough out there without having to deal with getting scammed, so be careful of what information you’re giving out. Some red flags to watch out for are:

  1. Do the domain names in their email match the website URL?
  2. If they say they’ll send you a check to buy office equipment, then tell you their vendor needs money immediately, it’s definitely a scam.
  3. Look them up on LinkedIn. If you can, message them to verify you’re talking to them in email.
  4. Call the company and ask if they are genuinely hiring for that position. If they are, is the person who contacted you an actual recruiter?
  5. Whatever they say in email, do not fill out employment forms without verifying 100% that the job is authentic and genuinely being offered to you.
  6. Employers know scammers are out there, so they won’t be offended by your due diligence.
  7. Typically, interviews will not be conducted over text messaging platforms.
  8. If any, job acceptance and human resource forms should be sent to you using DocuSign or something similar. Not PDFs you print out and send back.
  9. If they mention personal things about themselves like church, their kids, or anything that seems unusual to say to prospective employees, it’s probably a scam.
  10. If it seems like your dream job with a wage higher than usual, it’s a scam.
  11. Does the company website look poorly designed and bare? It’s likely because it was done quickly to get their scam operational.

Legitimate posts are difficult to spot. It can look authentic and have few red flags. To be safe, send the link to a friend you trust and see what they say.

The world today is dangerous, but it helps to know what to look for. Have you run into this problem?

What did you do when you realized what was happening?

By Gretchen Hendrick Gardella, MLIS

Gretchen Hendrick Gardella is a Librarian with administrative, research, and vast technical skills. Ms. Gardella brings over 16 years of experience working in academic and public libraries to the discussion.