The number of job seekers who search online for employment opportunities has risen. Unfortunately, with this trend comes the opportunity for criminals to exploit job seekers with fake job offers as a way to extract personal information and bank details.

Leonardo de Souza, Managing Director of Robert Walters, Brazil shares some insights and tips on how to identify and avoid online job scams.

“A legitimate job should be clear and precise on the job specifications and responsibilities.”

1. Check for known “red flags”

Job scams usually contain certain common “red flags” that can alert you to fraudulent jobs. These include misspellings or grammatical errors in job ads, or a contact email address that is not the primary domain of the organisation. For example, a job ad that uses a email address would raise concern.

Other clues that something is not legitimate include ads that require you to put in some form of monetary deposit before giving you access to or offering you the jobs advertised. A legitimate job should be paying you for what you are worth, in terms of your experience and contribution – instead of expecting you to pay upfront for the career opportunity.

2. Be careful of jobs that request your bank account information

There are some types of job scams in which the applicant is asked to accept payment to his or her bank account. These payment-transfer scams usually involve a criminal who pretends to be an employer, and uses fake job ads to lure unsuspecting job seekers and extract personal details and information from them.

The scary thing is that such people can even go to the extent of stealing company logos and corporate names to convince jobseekers that they are legitimate employers.

Always be wary of jobs that request information or personal details beyond what is usually contained in your resume, and as a guide, you should never give out your bank account details before being offered a job.

3. Post your resume anonymously

The increasing danger of identity theft or someone posing as an employer to gain an applicant’s personal data are good reasons to post an anonymous resume. Many criminals target genuine job hunters and obtain their personal particulars through fraud with the purpose to spam them with business opportunities – which are more often than not; fictitious and illegal pyramid marketing schemes.

Avoid including your home address, phone number or date of birth on resumes that you post publicly, in case identity thieves abuse the information available to create fake credit cards or take out loans.

4. Check with reliable sources

Check On the firm’s reliability, credibility and complaint record with friends or contacts from the industry or seek advice from other reliable third party resources, such as The Chamber of Commerce or institute bodies.

Never divulge personal and financial information on the phone, email or over the internet until you have done due diligence on the company’s reputation and marketplace record, and are comfortable with the company’s privacy protection policies. However, be aware that some of these scam organisations may even give out false references, so make sure your sources are trustworthy and reliable.

5. Be sceptical of easy money schemes

The work-at-home job market is dominated with scams. It pays to be more sceptical about the lucrative money making opportunities this market promises. If the returns sound too good to be true, most of the time, they probably are. Jobs that gives over the top income claims or ads that do not specify the details and requirements of the job itself should raise a red flag.

A legitimate job should be clear and precise on the job specifications and responsibilities, instead of relying on heavy marketing and sales copy, success stories, testimonials and hype, which is a trademark of many work-at-home programmes.

6. Work with reputable headhunters

Last but not least, always work with a reputable headhunting firm or job agency. Proceed with caution whenever you receive an email which claims to have seen your resume online and invites you to complete the application details online. You should check out the company through your internet browser and contact the organisation via telephone to find out if the job offer is genuine.


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