Online job listings are the most common way for people to find new careers in the modern era. However, there are some scams out there that prey on people looking for gainful employment. This is sad, but not surprising: people in need of a good job often aren’t as critical of job listings as they would be something like an email or a robocall.
However, there are a number of harmful and damaging scams that you could fall victim to on online job boards if you’re not careful. Here’s what to be on the lookout for when you’re looking to get a new job.
A common job scam on sites like LinkedIn is multilevel marketing scams masquerading as “management opportunities”. These scams will often target lower-income individuals who are looking to break into more professional fields. Led by charismatic hucksters, these scams typically operate as grueling sales positions in which the victims are employees in extremely difficult sales jobs. These can include selling makeup or TV subscriptions in retail stores, though as third-party contractors, not for the store itself.
These scams are hard for newcomers to tell apart from a normal job, at first, due to the presence of a normal paycheck. However, the extremely long hours and restrictive time-off policies of these multilevel marketing scheme makes them clearly scams once you know what you’re looking for.
Some scammers are much less elegant than a multilevel marketing scheme, instead just using the veneer of a normal job application to phish for information like social security numbers and birthdates. By posing as normal jobs, these scams simply take in “applications” that are actually data harvesting.
The best way to avoid these scams is to be selective about your personal information. Don’t send information to people you meet on unofficial forums like social media. Official job boards will have protections in place to keep scammers from posting job listings.
Another common form of job scam involves sending prospective “employees” a check for a sum of money so they can use an “official vendor” to buy their equipment. Once the employee has bought the expensive equipment they need for the “job,” the “employer’s” check bounces, and the “vendor,” who is really the same scammer posing as an employer, pockets the cash and vanishes.
To avoid this one, insist on using a credit card for any official vendor purchases in a new job, instead of accepting a check that can bounce.