How to Avoid Online Job Scams

Job scam victims in the UK lose £4000 on average.

For a job seeker to lose this kind of money is indeed disheartening. If you are a fresh graduate or a professional who is continuously on the lookout for better opportunities, this is a trap you definitely want to avoid.

While there are no 100% fool-proof methods to follow, you can definitely avert these scams by being alert and knowing the signs to look for to detect duplicitous job opportunities.

Is a job real or fake? Here is how to tell the difference.

1. Requests for Sensitive Information

An employer never requires information such as your bank account details until after you have gotten an offer letter and signed a contract.

With job scams, you will get an offer letter without being invited for interviews or other screening activities.

This offer letter will then request you to provide certain information to proceed with the recruitment process.

When some of the requested information includes your bank details, National Insurance number, scans of your driver’s license, and so on, you could be dealing with fraudsters.

2. Be Alert to Obvious Red Flags

No credible organization will use a @yahoo or @ Hotmail email as a point of contact.

What most of these scammers do is take a well-known company name and place @yahoo at the end — for example, [email protected]

If an agent or recruiter uses such web email addresses to communicate with you, your antennae should go up.

Another red flag is the communication itself. Look for glaring spelling mistakes as well as other grammar issues.

3. Expensive Training Courses

Another method used to rope in unsuspecting job seekers is a job offer that comes attached to a training offer.

Here, you make a job application as you would any other.

The prospective employer then reverts with an offer letter. But there is a catch.

For you to get a permanent position at the company, you are required to take a training course to equip you with the skills you will need for your new job.

The only thing you have to do is pay for the training course at a ‘subsidized fee’. This fee usually runs into several hundred pounds or so.

4. Job Source

At times the things you question about a job ad or the recruitment procedure can be confirmed by re-checking the job site.

While there are many legitimate sites out there to help start your career, there are some questionable ones as well.

If you suspect a job is fishy and you trace it back to a less than credible site, then your suspicions are well-founded.

To stay safe, find two or three credible job sites, and use these exclusively for all your job search endeavors.

You can find these through referrals from your circle and by looking at online reviews.

5. No Digital Footprint

Smart job seekers take it upon themselves to do a little research on the companies they intend to send job applications to.

If you are unable to find any information about a company on the internet, tread carefully.

Most small companies, including new small businesses, have some digital footprint. If you cannot find the necessary information like a telephone number and a physical address, the chances are high that you are dealing with scammers.

6. Overly Lucrative Remuneration

When the compensation package sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Some of the tactics scammers use are very amicable job terms coupled with unbelievable high pay scales that are several times higher than standard industry rates.

When you find job adverts with very few qualification requirements, vague job descriptions, and lucrative salaries, you are best advised to walk away.

Have Your Wits About You

It’s normal to get a bit frustrated over a long and unproductive job search, more so when the bills begin piling up.

However, you want to take your time and find a suitable job with an actual company as opposed to getting strung along by scam artists.

Therefore, keep these pointers in mind when looking and applying for jobs. Soon enough, the right position will crop up.


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