7 signs this job offer is a scam

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This philosophy applies to many situations, including job offers. With technology and job searching so entwined, scam artists are hard at work luring job seekers with the promise of lucrative job offers that only result in identify theft, stolen money or both.

Many examples exist. A new scam targeting college students offers part-time online jobs. The notification is sent to campus email accounts, making it look more legitimate. But beware: the email indicates the company will send a check to the applicant who is then directed to cash the check and wire money to a stated account via Western Union. Being required to pay money upfront waves a huge red flag that this opportunity is a scam.

What other red flags should you look for? Here seven items that could signal the job you’re about to apply for is fake.

The job posting is very poorly written. If you see typos, mixed verb tenses or a job description that doesn’t make sense, don’t apply. When an ad reads like it’s been poorly translated or doesn’t actually say what the job entails, it’s a scam.

“No experience necessary.” Be careful of ads that indicate anyone could do the job, because not everyone can do every job. Certain skills sets, education level or years of work experience should be listed.

The email is a non-business address. When a potential boss reaches out to you from a Gmail, Hotmail or other personal account, hit the delete button. Legitimate job offers come from company email addresses, not personal ones.

“Please send money.” Candidates shouldn’t be asked to wire money, transfer funds or cash checks. Do your research when a company requires you to send money upfront to receive training materials, required company equipment or further instructions. Legitimate companies won’t do this.

“Before sending you an application, we need to receive your Social Security number, bank account and routing number.”  No, they don’t. Once you’re hired, it’s customary to provide this information to human resources departments for tax or direct deposit purposes. But there’s never a reason to supply personal information based on a job ad. During the hiring process employers may run a background check or a credit check. But you must be notified in writing and give written authorization before the credit check can be completed.

The salary is extremely high. Job scammers post extremely high salaries to attract desperate job seekers. Resources like Salary Calculator and the Occupational Outlook Handbook list salary ranges and starting salaries so you can know what a reasonable salary offer is. Career Coach is a great source for learning Charlotte/regional salaries.

“Congratulations, you’re hired…even though we’ve never met you.” Receiving a job offer on the spot, sight unseen, is a big sign that the job offer isn’t real. If an interview isn’t part of the hiring process – or there isn’t any process at all – it’s likely a scam.

Your ideal real job is out there. Keep searching! Don’t be lured by scams of ideal jobs that really are too good to be true.