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Recruitment Scams Can Derail Your Job Search

Looking for a job? Gone are the days when you perused the newspapers for employment. In today’s online world all your information is out there. So be aware—once you apply on one job site, there are recruitment scammers trying to profit off of your job search.

These scams typically happen when scammers fraudulently use a company’s name and logo to solicit applications from job seekers for fake jobs via e-mail or postings on a professional website or social media. If someone responds, their sensitive information may be gathered under the guise of “onboarding” a new employee. The Better Business Bureau tracked more than 3,000 recruiting scams during 2018, with losses in the millions of dollars.

Red flags to avoid
So how do you know if a recruiter or company is legitimate? First, remember that recruitment scams are relatively common, and they can trick you in a variety of ways. If you’re actively looking for a new opportunity, you will likely upload your CV or resume to a variety of job sites in the hopes that a real recruiter might discover your talents and contact you. Be aware that some people that contact you may not be legitimate and may try to con you into giving away private information, sending them money, or even using you as an unwitting money launderer.

Scams like these are nothing new, but harnessing the power of the internet has made it much easier for fraudsters to grab your personal data. So how can you protect yourself? Here’s what you need to know:

Advance-fee fraud. The scammers ask you for money during the application process for administrative fees. No legitimate agency should ever ask for money for their services.

Work from home. Hugely exaggerated pay and work is sometimes rejected with no payment given. Not to say that there are not legit home-based jobs, but be sure they are running through a legitimate recruiting agency with a good reputation.

Money laundering. Some job offers offer “financial processing” using your bank account. Don’t EVER give your account information to a recruiter…or anyone for that matter. This is always a red flag.

Reshipping fraud. Are you being asked to repackage or send anything? It might be a scam.

Pyramid schemes. These are abundant and offer to pay you to sign up new recruits to sell a product on your own time, often with your OWN dollars.

If you receive an e-mail solicitation, watch out for the following:

Poor grammar and/or spelling errors.

The message is not personalized to you; it’s just a blanket solicitation.

Requests for money to initiate checks, administrative fees or other tasks during the application process.

Solicitations using a free email account address like Gmail or Hotmail. They should be using a company or recruiting agency e-mail address.

If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company’s job page to see if the position is posted there. Look online; if the job comes up in other cities with the exact same post, it’s likely a scam.

Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview.

Sounds too good to be true! For example, offering “$100,000 a year just for telling your friends.” Make sure you pass on this one.

Roles that are abroad—don’t give them your bank details for travel arrangements.

Once you discover the company is fake, be sure to report it to the Federal Trade Commission and hopefully spare someone else the trouble you’ve endured. You can also contact your state’s attorney general’s office to report the scam, and give heads up to the company that may have been involved.

Resources: Better Business Bureau,, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

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