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Unmasking Job Scams: Protecting Your Career Journey

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

Are you on the hunt for a new job or contemplating a career change? In this ever-changing job market, with people exploring new career paths or facing unexpected layoffs, it's important to keep your guard up. Why? Because scammers are always lurking around, ready to take advantage of vulnerable individuals like you. But don’t worry, we are here to equip you with the knowledge you need to protect your career journey and navigate the treacherous waters of employment scams.

Cartoon man phishing for computer information

Let's face it, these scammers are slick talkers. They have mastered the art of casting wide nets, advertising irresistible dream jobs on popular online platforms and job boards. They are even crafty enough to personalize their approach, meticulously searching social media for job seekers like you. If you have ever mentioned your industry or experienced recent layoffs, you are at risk of becoming their next victim.

These cunning scammers do not shy away from going the extra mile to execute their deceitful ploys. They conduct fake online job interviews, sometimes going as far as creating elaborate phony onboarding portals. Be on high alert if they start asking for your Social Security number or bank account information, claiming it's for setting up direct deposits. Some scammers are satisfied with stealing your identity, while others will try a different angle. They might ask you to foot the bill for remote work equipment and promise to reimburse you later. But guess what? That reimbursement will never happen!

Now, let's get down to business.

How can you protect yourself during your job search adventure?

Cartoon securing computer information

Be skeptical when a supposed "employer" or "recruiter" reaches out to

you out of the blue. Sure, not every unsolicited contact is a scam, but you need to play it safe.

If you receive such an offer, do not immediately trust them. Take matters into your own hands and reach out directly to the company using the contact information you know is legitimate. Avoid using the email or phone number provided by the suspicious individual. If you stumble upon a start-up or unfamiliar company, do your due diligence. Give their name a quick Google search along with the keywords "scam" or "fraud." You might uncover stories from others who have fallen prey to their tricks. Remember, scammers can easily create deceptive websites, so do not rely solely on a fancy online presence.

Stay vigilant for telltale signs that scream "scam alert!" While there is no foolproof way to detect every job scam, there are some common indicators that should raise your eyebrows. Watch out for emails coming from personal accounts instead of professional ones tied to a company. Keep an eye out for sloppy spelling and grammar mistakes, interviews conducted solely through email or online chat, sky-high salaries that seem too good to be true, and requests for personal data or account numbers. If something feels off, trust your gut!

Did your supposed "new employer" send you a check?

Slow down, friend. Scammers love playing this trick. They might ask you to make upfront payments for equipment or expenses, or they will go the extra mile and send you what appears to be a genuine company check. But hold your horses! This is where they try to pull a fast one on you. The check will come with instructions to send a portion of the money to someone else, usually via wire transfer, cryptocurrencies, or gift cards (and their PIN numbers). Eager to prove yourself as a diligent employee, you might deposit the check and cover the forwarded funds out of your own pocket, thinking the deposited check will cover it all. But surprise, surprise! The check will bounce, and the scammer will vanish into thin air, leaving you in a financial mess. Do not be fooled by this fake check scam dressed up as a golden job opportunity.

Remember, job seekers, never pay for a job or the promise of employment. Legitimate

employers will not ask you to shell out cash for a job opportunity. So, if anyone dares to ask you for money during your job search journey, run in the opposite direction. You are likely dealing with a scam artist.

Stay informed, stay cautious, and report any suspicious practices you come across during your job search. Let’s beat those scammers at their own game and pave the way for a brighter, scam-free future!


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