6 Tips to avoid online job scams

If you're careful with your job search and watch out for these red flags, you can easily start to spot the real from the fake.

Kim Costa |
Categories: Applying

It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a real job posting online and a scam posting. After all, scammers tend to advertise job openings in the same places legitimate employers do – online, newspapers, etc. But, if you're careful with your job search and watch out for these red flags, you can easily start to spot the real from the fake.

At Snagajob, we screen each posting that comes through to catch those that might look a little fishy. If you are unsure of a posting on our site and would like us to investigate, please email besafe@snagajob.com and we will look into it further for you.

No work? No money.

You should not cash any checks or accept any money if you haven't done any work. Job scammers often say they will pay you in advance for miscellaneous items like office supplies or personal items. These checks are not real and they will bounce. If you are unsure, you can always go to your bank and have them confirm the authenticity of the check.

Share your info wisely.

Applying to many legitimate jobs online requires you to provide a lot of standard information, like your address or Social Security number. However, you should always check to make sure the site you are using to apply is secure. Just make sure the URL of the application begins with "https." And never give your information through email or over the phone.

Stay organized.

Some scammers will post a job under a legitimate company's name, but then contact you as a different, fake company in the hopes you just won't remember all of the jobs you've applied to. Keep a notebook or spreadsheet that lists each position and company you send an application to and don't respond to anyone unfamiliar.

Do your research.

If someone reaches out to you from a company you've never heard of, do a quick internet search to check them out to see if others have been scammed by them. Also, keep an eye out for people who do not have a company domain name in their email address, but instead use a free email service (e.g., XYZ@companyname.com vs. XYZ@gmail.com).

Be weary of chat room interviews.

If the employer does not want to meet you face-to-face (whether in person or over video) this is good sign that the job is a scam. In addition, they'll most likely hire you on the spot during the chat interview and ask for your bank account information right away. Never give this information out over an internet chat room.

Trust your gut.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Pay attention to the pay rate you are being offered and compare it to similar jobs in your area. If they offer to pay you $30 an hour to answer phones at home because their office is under construction, let this be a red flag.