Spot the Trap: 5 Ways to Detect a Scam Job Posting

Here at HireMyMom, we go through a thorough vetting process with the companies that list jobs on our site, ensuring that the remote work we offer is legitimate. However, scammers are becoming more and more clever, so we wanted to share a warning with you as you start your job seeking journey.

Recently we have seen job listings that look extremely legitimate; they are not vague, they communicate clear expectations and offer several ways to research the companies. However, upon researching the business we have found websites that are fake with filler text that has not been switched out (you see it everywhere — something like “lorem ipsum”), obvious stock photos for “employees” that work there, and sites that in general lack functionality and any sort of design you would expect to see from a modern site.

Please keep in mind it is extremely important to research each company you apply to, so that you can ensure the posting is legitimate. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when spotting a fake job post:

#1 Look for Professional Email Communication

Another way to differentiate between a genuine job posting and a scam is by examining the professionalism of email interactions. Watch out for email addresses that don’t include the company’s domain – scammers often rely on free email services like Gmail or Yahoo. Legitimate recruiters or employers usually use a professional email tied to their company’s website. However, scammers can create fake emails that almost match the company’s name except for one letter so instead of their email might say

Additionally, the quality of language used in email communication can offer hints. If the email is riddled with sloppy grammar, poor punctuation, or spelling blunders, take it as a warning sign. Scammers often neglect these details, so a polished, error-free email is generally more trustworthy. Watch out for vague emails that say details for the job will be given during the interview; any legit company will be open and honest up front for what they are looking for.

Also read your emails thoroughly to be sure it lists the same job you applied to; many scammers will collect information and then reach out to try and get your details, but the job title and company it was originally for does not quite line up.

Finally, take a look at the signature supplied. If the logo is extremely blurry and stretched, that is an indication the email might be a scam. If the phone numbers and emails listed in the signature are vague like this should throw up a red flag as the person contacting you should have their own, personalized contact info to offer you.

Remember, do not click links in emails. Go to the company’s website outside of the email and do a little research there to see if you feel you can trust them.

#2 Be Wary of Jobs that Require Upfront Payments

Alarm bells should start ringing if a job posting mandates that you fork over cash upfront. Whether it’s for training materials, background checks, or equipment, any position that insists on financial contributions from your end before employment is questionable. Real employers will shoulder these expenses. Crafty fraudsters, however, might attempt to dupe unsuspecting job seekers by enticing them with a job opportunity, only to trick them into opening their wallets. Consider this golden rule – if you’re being asked to shell out money to land a job, chances are it’s not a legitimate opportunity.

Additionally, if they immediately ask for your direct deposit information before giving you job details or before you have started an onboarding process, you should pause.

#3 Be Mindful of How They Contact You

If a random person texts you saying they have seen your application and would like to set up an interview, this can easily be from a scammer. Legitimate companies normally email you for interviews. Also, companies tend to use services such as Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, etc. for interviews. Many scammers prefer to use Skype. If you are really interested in the position and believe it might be legit, respond to the message and ask if it will be a video call. Scammers normally stick to “chat” interviews while real companies will always do a video call or a voice call.

Keep track of who has contacted you as well. Scammers will use a whole bunch of different names saying you are emailing one person, interviewing with another, and asking questions of someone else. Generally, in real companies the person reaching out to you about your application will be the one interviewing you or at the very least will be sitting in on the interview with you and someone else in the company.

#4 Research the Company and Check Reviews

Dig a little deeper before you hit the ‘apply’ button by diving into comprehensive research about the organization in question. Does the company have a genuine, professional website with a matching job listing to the one you found? Or does the company seem to only exist within the confines of that single job post? If it’s the latter, tread with caution. Take your investigation a step further by scouring employee review platforms like Glassdoor. Insightful employee testimonials can provide a peek into the company’s work culture, ethics, and credibility. Beware if the reviews are overwhelmingly negative or if there’s a complete absence of them – both can be red flags indicating a potential scam. Remember, a thorough background check is your shield against fraudulent job offers. Be inquisitive, be vigilant, and always cross-check information.

#5 Too Good to Be True Is Real

If a job listing has what appears to be an insanely high pay rate for the position, then it normally is too good to be true. Thus far scammers have focused on attracting targets with high pay rates, but it is also good to look at benefits offered if there are any listed to see if they make sense.

At the end of the day, don’t discount the power of your gut feeling. If a job posting makes you feel uncomfortable or if something about the employer just doesn’t add up, heed these intuitive signals. They can serve as an essential defense line against job scams. Let your instincts play their part and guide you in your job hunt. In an arena filled with potential traps, trusting your gut can make all the difference.



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fake job posts, Job Postings, legitimate jobs, Scams