How to spot a job scam

  • How to spot a job scam
16 Oct, 2023
Daniel Cohen
11 min
how to spot a job scam

Not all job postings are genuine

Fake job offers are proliferating since the rise of COVID-19, so learn how to spot them when looking for a job.

As the COVID-19 pandemic put countless people out of work in the U.S., the country has witnessed a relentless series of job scams. Since the individuals behind these fraudulent job postings publish and advertise jobs in a similar manner to legitimate employers, it might be a challenge to know what’s real and what’s not.

Let’s discuss how you can spot a job scam.

Indicators of a job scam

While many job postings are legitimate, some are fraudulent. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are some other indicators that a job posting is illegitimate:

1. Offers that include depositing a check and retaining some money

Some jobs involve the employer or a member of their team sending you a check. Typically, you’d be asked to keep some part of the money as they pay for your services, and then send the balance to someone else.

This is an obvious scam because an employer should only pay you for your services. If they need to send money to another individual, there are countless payment services available. The danger of this scam lies in the fact that the check is always fake. The bank will always find out, and that might be after the payment has been made. You’ll be held responsible for the money.

2. Request for payment for certifications or guarantee

Another indicator of a job scam is a request for payment for certification before you get the job. This is a popular tactic that’s used to lure unsuspecting job seekers. The perpetrators make it seem like the job is within reach.

Sometimes, the fund will be requested to allegedly secure the job for you. This is the most obvious red flag. Claims that money is needed to secure the position or provide certification are untrue.

3. Demanding fees for job placement

The problem with fraudulent job listings is that they mimic genuine job listings. It’s easy for the untrained eye to fall victim. Fraudulent job placement firms, quite unlike authentic placement firms, charge fees from job seekers for their services. Sadly, the services are fraudulent too, as they typically promote old or entirely nonexistent job postings.

Legitimate placement companies get their fees from the company that wants candidates.

4. Demanding fees for a government job

Sometimes, you can discover a job listing that claims to be for a job with a government institution. However, these job advertisements come up with ways to get you to pay, even before you get the job. The fees are allegedly needed to help you get the job, or fetch you resource materials that will help you get a high score on the job’s aptitude test.

This a scam.

To apply for a federal government job, you can simply visit their website. Information about job openings is free and available to all.

Now that you know how to spot a job scam, it’s important to avoid these listings and spread awareness. Are you dealing with the fallout of a job scam? Contact us for help

About the author
Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is a Founding Partner of Consumer Attorneys and a co-chair of Consumer Finance Litigation practice. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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