Pop-up ads on the internet with cheesy pictures of a person in their pajamas working on their laptop at home with Microsoft WordArt saying “Work at home and make $1000 a day!” can be spotted quite easily as a job scam. However, there are many other scams that aren’t as easy to spot.
If you remember my blog post, Understanding Multi-Level Marketing Companies, I go over how pyramid schemes work, the difference and similarities to multi-level marketing companies, and how to avoid being scammed. Many seemingly innocent jobs can be potential job scams and here’s how to spot them:
Being outright contacted by an employer who says you have the job (without an interview) is a sign you could be getting scammed. Would you want to hire someone without an interview first? Keep an eye out for a generic email address (yahoo, Gmail, etc. as opposed to an email associated with the company’s name) and never send your social security number, bank account/credit card numbers, or other personal information over email. Legitimate jobs will usually have you meet in person before signing any paperwork and will not prepay you for any services; certain Mystery Shopping scams break these rules.
When an employer sends you a check and/or asks you to wire money, this is also a huge red flag. Something isn’t right. Never wire or transfer money to anyone you don’t know (especially a Nigerian prince).
Do your homework
If the job posting seems fishy, your first instinct should be to conduct a Google search. Use phrases such as “is (company name) a scam” and check out any website listed in their posting. This can help you decide if you should trust the organization. Next, see if the recruiter is on LinkedIn. Finally, you can use the Better Business Bureau for smaller companies to see if they’re accredited. Accredited means that the business is legitimate and has a positive track record with employees and consumers.
NAU Career Development’s role
Recently, we had a couple of different job scams on Jobs for Jacks. Both were employers claiming to be small businesses here in Flagstaff, and both had seemingly legitimate job postings. But they were found to be fraudulent once they contacted students who then notified us.
Also keep in mind that any employer soliciting you on campus (handing out flyers on the pedway, etc.) should be solely here at the request of one of the career development offices on campus. If they seem suspicious to you, confirm with us that they are supposed to be on NAU campus.
Our job at Career Development is to review posts and research employers before we approve them for Jobs for Jacks. We have guidance on Jobs for jacks about the kinds of posts that are not appropriate. However, when it comes down to it, job scams are scams and the scammers will try and find ways around university policies in order to post on our site. If a job posting (on or off our site) seems fishy, contact us and we’ll help you determine if it’s worth trusting.