- Look out for anything that's too good to be true. If they reached out to you (and you didn't apply!), if the pay is too good to be true, if you got the job without having to do much, these are all signs of a scammer preying on peoples' hope.
- Look out for extremely vague job listings. If there are no real qualifications or requirements, it's likely that they don't care who applies because they're trying to scam applicants.
- Look out for unprofessional messages. If there are many typos, weird misspellings, grammatical errors, (i instead of I,
Human resourcesinstead of
Human Resources, no space following the period after a sentence, etc.) -- this could point to the fact that they're trying to scam you.
- Look out for online interviews. Google Hangouts are very popular with scammers because they don't require any proof of validity. Anyone can pretend to be anybody on Google Hangouts. Make sure you research any company that asks you to do an online interview.
- Look out for emails sent from a generic email account. Real companies will send out emails from their company's domain (for example, Jobcase will email you from an email address that ends in @jobcase.com) whereas a generic email address ends in @gmail.com, or @yahoo.com. These emails, again, can be made by anybody and require no proof. Make sure you do the research even if the email address looks legit, because scammers will often purchase similar-looking websites or domains to email from (for example, adding a hyphen or adding or removing one letter of the company's name).
- Google EVERYTHING that looks suspicious. If company names don't add up, if there's no online presence, if you can't find enough information to make a decision it's probably something to be avoided. Real companies have an online footprint, you can find Glassdoor reviews or Yelp reviews or even references to the company that are not job postings. If there's no information online, be wary.
- DO NOT GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION! Don't give anyone your bank account information or social security number until you know for sure they are legit!
- DO NOT ACCEPT CHECKS FROM STRANGERS! Take any check you've received to the bank immediately to get it looked over to make sure it's not a fake check. US jobseekers lose millions of dollars in fake check scams every year.
- Look out for any job asking you to pay for anything. Some companies do require a small fee for background checks, but if you're not sure if that's legit ask for help first!
- Trust your gut. If you think it's iffy it probably is. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry.
Questions? Comments? Need help? Email me directly or forward any job email you've received to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll take a look at it and let you know what I think!