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Job scams are on the rise. Here’s how to spot them.

Tips for when a new job seems too good to be true

We all want to believe that enticing job posting offering sky-high pay and work-from-home freedom.

Sadly, a growing number of these listings are just too good to be true. Scam artists are infiltrating trusted job boards, like Linkedin and Indeed, feeding on the desperation that often comes with unemployment. It's a trend that can cost you more than just time –  it can put your finances and personal information at serious risk.

If you're actively job hunting, especially for remote positions, it's important to learn how to spot the red flags before they cause damage. Partnering with a reputable employment service like TRACKS Employment Services in Collingwood, Ontario, offers added protection, but knowing the warning signs is your first line of defence.

Trust Your Instincts. Warning Signs of a Job Scam

  • Too Good to be True: Exorbitant salary for minimal work? Instant hire without an interview? These are designed to make you act fast and ignore your common sense. Legitimate companies want to make sure you're qualified before making an offer.
  • Pushy Pressure: Scammers want a quick commitment. They might pressure you with deadlines or claim other candidates are also interested to create a sense of urgency.
  • Upfront Payments: If a "company" asks you to pay for training, special software, or anything else before you start, it's almost certainly a scam. Legitimate employers invest in their employees, not the other way around. Any job that wants you to open a Bitcoin account should be treated as a scam. 
  • Weary Origins: Did you get an email thanking you for applying to a job you don’t remember applying to? You may also get denied by one “job” only to be offered a different position with a “partner company” who then sweeps in with an email offering a customer service position without an interview. Make sure you keep track of all the jobs you’ve applied to, so you can catch when one doesn’t seem right. 
  • Shady Communication: Look closely at the email address – is it a personal Gmail account instead of a company domain? Are there spelling and grammar errors? Even something as difficult to spot as replacing a lowercase “l” with a capital ‘i’ can be tough to catch. Professional companies take their communication seriously.
  • Fuzzy Details: Vague job descriptions, no mention of a specific company, or a refusal to provide basic business information are big red flags. Always do some research on the company before applying. Was their supposed 50-year-old business’s website created last month? Does the Better Business Bureau have multiple negative reviews? Take this as your sign to run. 

Scammers will often mimic business names already in use (and will even go as far as conducting virtual interviews with a real person to make their lie more believable), so a little research can go a long way to uncovering the truth.

Protect Yourself. Here’s What to Do

  • Research Thoroughly: Before giving any information, search for the company online. Does it have a legitimate website and social media presence? Can you find genuine reviews from previous employees?
  • Never Pay to Work: Remember, a potential employer shouldn't ask you to put money down before you've earned a cent. And, again, they’re not going to pay you in Bitcoin. 
  • Report Suspicious Postings: If you recognize a scam, report it to the job board. This protects other job seekers.
  • Seek Expert Help: Services like TRACKS Employment Services (705-444-1580) have experienced employment counsellors who can help you spot scams, navigate secure job boards, and find legitimate opportunities.

If you discover your information has been stolen by a job scammer, especially any bank account information, social insurance number, etc., report it to the police. 

The Bottom Line

While the job hunt can be stressful, letting desperation cloud your judgment is risky. Take your time, trust your gut, and be skeptical — especially of offers that seem unbelievable. It may be the difference between landing your dream job and losing money to a heartless scam.

Contact TRACKS Employment Services to assist in your job hunt.

Important Note: This article focuses on online job scams but be aware that phone and mail scams also occur. Exercise the same caution with any unsolicited job offers that arrive out of the blue.