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How to Spot if a Job Ad is a Scam

Looking for a job is stressful enough without having to worry about whether the job you are applying for is legitimate. 

Recent social media posts have highlighted all sorts of stories of job seekers who have applied to positions and even been in communication with companies that appeared to be real but turned out to be scams.

Unfortunately, as companies look to online channels to advertise their job opportunities, those looking to target unsuspecting job seekers have also joined many of the same job listing websites.

Identifying deceitful job ads involves picking up on different elements on the ad, where the company is directing applicants to, and what it may be asking job seekers to do.

As you search for your next role, use your best judgment and look for the following cues to determine if a job posting is real:

  • Research the Company
    Look up the company online and check if they have an official website, social media presence, or a physical office location. If a company doesn’t have an online presence or if their website appears unprofessional, this could be a sign that the job posting may not be legitimate.
  • Check Email Addresses
    A genuine job posting typically comes from an official company email address, not a personal email address like Gmail or Yahoo. Be wary of any job postings that ask you to email your application to a personal email address.
  • Look at the Details
    A real job posting should have specific details about the position, including job responsibilities, qualifications, and information about the hiring process. If the job posting is vague or if it doesn’t provide any information about the company or the position, this can be a red flag.
  • Don’t Pay for Anything
    If a job posting requires you to pay for anything, such as training, equipment, or background checks, it’s likely a scam. Beware of companies promising to send checks to compensate you, since this can also make you vulnerable to scammers.
  • Trust Your Instincts
    If the job posting seems too good to be true or if it makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s best to trust your instincts and avoid applying for the job.

Still not sure if a job ad is real? If you’re still unsure if a job posting is real, you can go to the company’s career or job opportunities site, or you can reach out to the company directly and ask for more information about the job or their hiring process.

Additionally, you can search online for reviews or feedback about the company or check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if the company has any complaints filed against them.

As you search for job opportunities, keep the previous points in mind. Doing additional research to make sure a job opportunity is legitimate can also help you become aware of trends related to your industry and the jobs you are looking to apply for.

Written by:
Sam Afador