The internet has made the job search process convenient and easy. Unfortunately, it has also given scammers a platform to take advantage of job seekers. It can be difficult to tell the difference between online job scams and legitimate job openings.
Before you apply for a job online, especially work at home jobs, watch for these warning signs:
#1 VAGUE JOB LISTING. Legitimate job postings include details about the job and the skills required. If a job is short on requirements but sells the flexible nature of the work and the pay, consider it a red flag.
#2 COMMUNICATING VIA CHAT. Scammers often use instant messaging services to conduct fake job interviewers with job seekers. It is rare to secure a job or conduct an interview with a legitimate company through a chat platform.
#3 UNPROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION. Job postings and email communications with grammatical or spelling errors are likely to be scams.
#4 ANONYMOUS EMAILS. Legitimate employers have email addresses with web addresses that match their websites. Communications should most often not come from publicly available addresses like Yahoo or Gmail. Also watch closely for email addresses with misspelled or “spoofed” company names that are often similar to an actual company name.
#5 HIGH PAY, LOW EFFORT. Be cautious when pursuing jobs that seem too good to be true. Ask questions to confirm that the position is salaried (not commission only) and that there is a physical business address when a “work from home” opportunity is advertised.
#6 REQUESTING FINANCIAL INFORMATION EARLY. While you will need to give your employer your social security number and banking information before you start a job, if a company is asking you for this information on a job application or wanting your banking information before offering the job, it is likely a scam.
#7 WIRE TRANSFERS OR CHECKS. Real jobs pay you; you don’t pay the employer. Never agree to perform any financial transaction on behalf of a potential employer. A legitimate employer will not ask you to pay for a credit report or training, accept or make a wire transfer, or cash checks and forward to a third party.
Most importantly, trust your gut. If the potential employer is rushing you or making you feel uneasy in any way, walk away. If it feels like a scam, it probably is.
Hunter Hamilton offers a scam-free job search experience. All of the jobs on our online job board are vetted and safe. If you suspect fraudulent business practices at any time during your job search, please reach out to your local office immediately. Protect yourself and stay safe!