Avoid online job scams with these 7 tips

Snagajob |

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 fishy, but scammers are always testing the fences. If you see a posting on our site that seems suspicious, please report it. When you’re looking at the job detail page, scroll down to the very bottom of the page (right above the footer). Click the “🏳️ Report this job” link and our team will look closely into that job. If it turns out it’s fake, we’ll take it off the site.

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. There’s no good reason for someone to say you applied to a job you didn’t! Keep a notebook or spreadsheet that lists each position and company you send an application to (and don’t forget your dashboard will keep track of every job you applied to with Snagajob).

Watch out for SMS / text scams

The latest job scam is to reach out to people via text to set up an interview or offer a job.  Before responding to a text from someone you don’t know about a job, make sure they’re talking about a job you have actually applied for – and you shouldn’t have to coach them to get them there! If someone claiming to be an employer reaches out to you via text about a job and they can’t remember what job you applied for or the location of that job, it’s a red flag. And you simply should not be receiving “cold” offers via text about jobs you didn’t apply for. 

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 wary 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.