Searching for a job online can be a great way to find the perfect opportunity, but it can also be a minefield of scams. To protect yourself from fraudsters, it's important to know how to spot a scam and take steps to avoid them. Here are some tips for avoiding scams when using online job boards.
Do an Online Search. Before applying for a job, do an online search for the name of the company or person who is hiring you, as well as the words “scam”, “review” or “complaint”.
This can help you uncover any red flags that may indicate that other people have been scammed in the past.
Never Pay for the Promise of a Job. Legitimate employers will never ask you to pay money in order to start a job. If you are asked to pay money upfront, it is likely a scam.
Be Wary of Checks. If you receive a check as part of the job offer, be wary. Scammers may send you a check and ask you to deposit it and then send them back some of the money. However, the check is likely fake and you will be out of pocket if you deposit it.
Be Careful with Personal Information. Never provide your bank account information until you have been hired and have signed a contract. A legitimate employer will only ask for your bank details once you have set up direct deposit. They should only ask for your bank name, account number and routing number or SWIFT code - never your online banking username and password.
Research Employers. If you are applying for a job where the employer is not named (often on sites like Craigslist), ask for the employer's name before providing any personal information such as your resume. You should also be wary of jobs that require you to send money directly as the initial cost of the job - this is almost always a scam.
Be Wary of Reimbursement Processor Scams.
Reimbursement processor scams involve simple job offers to fill out online forms. Be wary of these offers and never provide direct deposit information until you have signed a job offer.
Check Government Jobs. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), information about federal jobs is always free and publicly available (they recommend using USAJobs.gov). Therefore, you should never pay to access federal government job offers or trust a source that claims to have access to undisclosed or hidden advertisements that are not publicly available.
Do Your Research.
The best defense against job scams is to do your research before responding with your resume or providing any personal information. Research the employer online before applying for a job to ensure that the company and the job are legitimate. By following these tips, you can protect yourself from online job scams and find legitimate opportunities.