Tips for Avoiding Job Scams

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The scam truck Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier via Compfight

Searching for a job is hard enough, but job seekers must also worry about the prevalence of online scams. Scammers have become more sophisticated over the years, making it difficult for job seekers to distinguish legitimate job ads from fake postings or pyramid schemes. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to spot scams while still taking advantage of the real job opportunities.

Proper Grammar and Spelling

Grammar and punctuation provide easy ways to spot a scammer. Everyone makes mistakes, but alarm bells should be going off if the email doesn’t read as if author knows your language very well. Inconsistent punctuation and capitalization are other huge tip-offs that you’re being scammed. Legitimate companies will want to put their best foot forward in order to attract the best applicants, and their ads will reflect that desire.


Fake ads often provide little or no information about the company, location or job responsibilities. The description given may include general phrases or titles, but nothing that lets you know what would actually be expected of you in the position. Details are left out because the fraudsters want to appeal to as many victims as possible. Real job listings will include as much information as possible to prevent the wrong people from applying because hiring managers don’t want to weed through irrelevant applications.

Online and Physical Presence

Sometimes, all it takes to spot a scammer is a simple internet search. If you can’t find information about what the company actually does, don’t waste your time applying. Look for a physical address, contact information, business profiles and company reviews. Companies that don’t exist online usually don’t exist at all.

Too Good to Be True

Scammers prey on desperate job seekers, and make promises that seem too good to pass up. Unfortunately, these “jobs” are just too good to be real. A legitimate company will ask a lot in return for a prime job position, even before giving you an offer. They demand excellent skills and experience, in addition to putting you through a rigorous hiring process. Research the pay range for your desired position, and be suspicious of jobs that advertise salaries or wages that fall far above that range.

Additionally, most work-from-home jobs are fake and should be ignored. The majority of employers would want new employees to work on site, and telecommuting options might be eventually granted.

A successful job search involves focusing your search on prospects that will yield results. Learning to spot the scams can save you time and frustration, allowing you to focus on what’s important. For more advice for a successful job search, read Knock ’em Dead 2013: The Ultimate Job Search Guide