Most job seekers in 2022 use the internet as part of their employment search. The labour market has gone digital, so online platforms like social media, email and job boards are standard tools for the modern job hunter. Vacancies can be found in a matter of seconds with a simple search on Google, Yahoo or just about any search engine out there.
While this makes things easier for job seekers, it also means that people need to be on high alert. Job scams are very real and applying for fake jobs online can put your personal information at risk.
In this blog post, we’ll help you understand what an online job scam is and how you can identify one to avoid falling victim! Without further ado, here are five key red flags to watch out for to determine if a job is real or fake.
What are online job scams?
Job scams come in many different shapes and sizes, and can sometimes be hard to spot. That’s why it’s so important that you stay constantly vigilant on your job hunt.
A job scam could take the shape of a fake job opening or a fake recruiter reaching out to you personally with a fake job offer. Criminals carry out these scams to steal your personal information, get you to hand over your financial details or even involve you in pyramid schemes.
Job scams also target foreign job seekers and people looking to immigrate to Canada. These employment scams offer visas, top wages, accommodation and fast-tracked immigration processes—which can often sound too good to be true (and they are).
Fake job offers sound like amazing career opportunities at first, and are often presented in a way that makes you feel lucky to be considered for the position. This emotional manipulation by fake recruiters can distract you from the red flags indicating that you’re being targeted by a job scam. Lucky for you, we’ve narrowed down some of the most common signs of an online employment scam in this article.
1. A suspicious email from a fake recruiter
If you get an email from a supposed job recruiter about a job you applied for a while back, always double-check the sending email address. Remember that job scammers are good at making things like email addresses look legitimate and they even create fake accounts with the company’s name.
If an email address is from a generic email service provider like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. then it’s likely not legitimate. Real job recruiters will email you from their company email address that’s connected to their website. For example, "ABCrecruitment@gmail.com" is likely from a fake recruiter, whereas "firstname.lastname@example.org" is more likely to be legitimate.
Even if the sender’s email address looks legitimate, search the recruiter’s business name on Google or find other professionals from the same company online to check if their work email addresses match. The difference can be small—a missing letter or period can be the only difference between a legitimate email address and a fake one, so pay very close attention to detail. If the email addresses don’t match, then you may have been contacted by a fake recruiter as part of an employment scam.
2. You can’t find the fake job offer posted anywhere else
If you’ve been contacted about a great looking job opportunity, a good way to check if it’s legitimate is to search elsewhere on the web for the vacancy. Go to the company’s official website and go to their “careers” web page. Companies regularly update this section of their website, so if you don’t see the job listed there, try contacting their recruitment or HR department directly to ask if the job opening exists.
If you simply can’t find the posting anywhere from a second source and can’t get confirmation from real company employees, then it could be a fake job offer.
3. Job scams ask for money and/or personal information
A big red flag with fake job offers is when they ask for payment or confidential personal information. A legitimate employer will never ask for payment for office equipment, inventory or access to the next interview stage. If you get a message asking for money in any form, you’re likely talking to a fake recruiter who’s part of an employment scam.
This also applies to fake recruiters that ask for detailed personal information as soon as they contact you. Information like your home address, social security number, official ID and other sensitive data should not be given out unless you’re completely sure that it’s a legitimate company. Even a real employer would only ask for this information in the final stages of the interview process to draw up your contract and payment arrangements.
These online job scams requesting money and personal data don’t always come from fake recruiters. Scammers will also try to fool immigrants and people who are new to Canada by sending them an email from a source that appears to be the embassy, an immigration lawyer, or immigration authorities. Payments for work permit applications through the government of Canada are only made through the official online government portal or in-person in a visa office. If you’re asked to pay in any other way, like transferring money through a third-party source like MoneyGram, beware: you may be falling victim to an immigration scam.
4. An offer that’s too good to be true could be a job scam
This red flag might seem pretty obvious, but you may be so happy to receive an attractive and well-paid job offer that you don’t realize it’s an employment scam. If you’re offered a six-figure salary for a job with no experience necessary, it’s likely too good to be true. Of course, this is an easy-to-spot example, but don’t underestimate a scammer’s ability to dazzle and manipulate their targets with fake incentives.
Think logically about the offer you’ve received. Is it much more than you’d expect to earn for this position? Does it include fancy job benefits like luxury travel? Did you land a manager role with no experience? If so, then proceed with extreme caution: this could be an online job scam!
5. The fake recruiter’s communication style is suspicious
The way someone communicates with you says a lot about who they are. Paying close attention to writing style, professionalism and timing of messages and calls could save you from a job scam.
Look out for some of the following behaviours that are glaring signs of a fake recruiter:
- Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in messages
- Bullying/threatening language
- Messages and calls outside office hours
- Refusal to talk via video chat
- Impersonal first messages directed to “candidate”, “job seeker” etc.
- Calls and messages that are too frequent
- Overly friendly or pushy messages and calls
This kind of behaviour is common among scammers because their goal is to fool their target as quickly as possible. They may also be operating from a foreign country in a different time zone, making them more likely to send messages at inappropriate hours. Be on guard if the “recruiter” you’re speaking to demonstrates any of the above unprofessional behaviour.
Beware of fake Adecco job offers
Adecco Canada is one of the most trusted and experienced staffing companies in the country, and we’ve successfully placed thousands of candidates in top jobs over the years. That’s why some fake recruiters have unfortunately tried imitating our company in an attempt to scam job seekers.
You will only ever be contacted by an authorized Adecco representative. If you’re unsure if the person you’re talking to really works for Adecco or not, we invite you to contact your local Adecco office so that we can check that for you.
You’ll know if you’re in contact with an authorized Adecco representative if their email address ends in @adecco.ca. Any other email address endings are not from an authorized member of our team. We also never ask our candidates to make payments or download software!
If you think you’re talking to a fake recruiter claiming to work for Adecco, report it to your local police department and file the incident with the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre. Visit our FAQ section on job scams for more information.
For more insider tips on how to navigate the job market in 2022 and beyond, check out our other popular blog posts!