Signs of Job Scams and Pyramid Schemes

College students and recent graduates are particularly vulnerable to scams, pyramid schemes, and generally awful jobs. Companies know applicants with little or no experience are desperate and won’t ask for much in the way of salary or benefits. They lure you in with big promises but offer few details on the actual job. If  you’re looking for a job or will be soon, watch out for these signs of scams and pyramid schemes.


You Pay First

A candidate should never have to pay any money up front in order to start a job (besides the necessary interview attire). If you’re forced to pay any fees or buy products to sell, be cautious because you may never get a return on your “investment”. And of course, you should never wire money or send money outright to an individual or company for any reason. Although it is possible to find legitimate jobs on sites like Craigslist, you should be especially cautious on these sites because there are a large number of scammers targeting desperate job-seekers.

Vague Responsibilities

Does the job description leave out important details, like what you’ll actually be doing day-to-day? A huge red flag in a job listing includes talking up the company and the position without mentioning any specific duties. Legitimate companies will include detailed requirements and responsibilities because they only want the most qualified candidates to apply.

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Large Scale “Interviews”

Scammers and pyramid scheme companies like to recruit victims in droves. If you find that getting the interview was too easy and you’ll be interviewing with tons of others, it might be time to rethink your options. You may even get unsolicited emails from these companies if they see your resume online and realize you lack work experience or have been unemployed for a long period of time.

Big Promises

Promises of six-figure “potential income” and other impressive but vague statements are usually signs of a purely commission based job or pyramid scheme. While it’s true that some individuals can make good money in these positions, most cannot (particularly inexperienced young employees).

Workers Always Wanted

If a company is always needing tons of workers for the same type of position, it may be a bad sign. It’s likely they have a high turnover for the position, and have to mass recruit new employees constantly. As mentioned above, you may get tons of unsolicited emails from such companies. It may lift your hopes and even be flattering to see that someone wants you. Unfortunately, desperation on the part of an employer is never a good sign.

When looking for a job, it’s important to not let desperation cloud your judgement. It’s better to avoid wasting your time with a shady company and spend that time looking for legitimate jobs that will be a good fit for your skills and career goals.

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