10 Signs a Job Posting May Be a Scam

Updated January 31, 2023

Finding the perfect job for you can seem challenging, especially considering the many job descriptions and online tools you can look through. With many opportunities out there, it can also be difficult to discern legitimate job positions from fake offers from scammers. However, there are several key traits of these types of scams and knowing what to look for can help you find reliable and genuine opportunities best suited for you.

In this article, we'll discuss what to look for in a job description or offer so you can tell whether it's a true opportunity or a scam in disguise.

Related: 11 Types of Job Hunting Strategies (With Tips)

What to look for to determine if a job is a scam

While it's uncommon and rare to find scams and fake job opportunities through legitimate job boards, it can sometimes happen. In the event you come across something in your job search that raises your suspicions, here are 10 things to look for to help you determine whether the job you're looking at is genuine or if it's a possible scam:

1. The recruiter contacts you

One warning sign that a job offer may be illegitimate is that the hiring manager or employer makes contact with you first, usually by stating that they found your resume online or through an email. While this trait in itself doesn't necessarily mean a job opportunity is a scam, if you receive a job offer right away, there are unusual requests or there are additional warning signs from this list, it could be a fake meant to obtain your personal information.

2. You receive a job offer right away

Receiving a job offer right away without having applied to an open position, spoken with a hiring manager or participated in an interview can be a huge red flag. An immediate offer to work for an organization combined with the fact that you didn't contact the company first can mean the job opportunity isn't as legitimate as it seems.

3. The pay is extremely high

If you notice that the description mentions an unusually high-income level for the position, it may be a warning sign. For instance, if a job description states the employer will pay an annual salary of $75,000 for only 15 to 20 hours per week for an entry-level role, it could be a sign to look into the company and position further before applying.

4. The schedule seems too flexible

While many career opportunities provide flexible work hours and schedules that promote a healthy work-life balance, if a job appears to be just a little too flexible, it could be another warning sign. Especially combined with unusually high pay, an unconventional schedule can point to something too good to be true.

For example, an opportunity that promises you'll only have to work one or two days per week while still earning an unusually high income should get you investigating further before you send in your resume.

Related: What Is a Flex Schedule? Definition and How It Works

5. Job requirements and description are vague

Real job opportunities have quite specific job details and requirements that you'll always see in a description. However, in illegitimate job offerings, you may notice that the details and requirements are quite vague. For instance, be careful of job offers that only require candidates to be of legal age, be literate, be able to type and other simple and other ambiguous criteria that pretty much anyone could qualify for.

6. The company requires payment from you

Be careful of any company, recruiter or job offer that requires a form of payment from you. No legitimate job opportunity will require you to pay to work for the company. While you should budget any expenses related to your job search—like gas for travel or professional attire—you should never have to pay for an opportunity to interview or accept a job.

7. The job promises that you'll get wealthy fast

If you notice that a job opportunity promises that you'll be able to build wealth quickly or get extremely rich within a month, it's a likely warning sign that the job you're after isn't genuine. Look more into the compensation system of the company, and if you can't find any additional information on the details of the payment schedule, it's best to assume it's a fake and continue on your search.

8. Communication appears unprofessional

Another big warning sign that a job may be illegitimate is unprofessional communication. For example, in a job offer email, look for inconsistencies in grammar, syntax and how the employer or recruiter communicates with you in writing. If it feels more than a little unprofessional, consider researching the position further and find out more about the company.

Related: Written Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

9. Contact information for the employer or company is missing

In addition to unprofessional communication, many fake job opportunities tend to have missing contact information or vague details about the organization. If you notice the company's information is missing, try an internet search to find a company website or email address. If you still cannot find basic information about the company's location, staff members or other details, you may want to continue onto your next opportunity.

10. A company requests confidential information before hiring

When a company hires new employees, it's usually a requirement to fill out tax documents, submit bank information for direct deposit and other processes that require confidential and personal information. However, this only becomes necessary once you sign an employer's offer and start your new job.

If a recruiter or employer asks for any personal information aside from your basic contact information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number, take this as a sign to avoid this company in favor of a real job opportunity.

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