Avoiding fraudulent jobs
While you are working hard to ensure that you land a job, be aware that the perfect opportunity may not be what it seems. Con artists and scammers post fraudulent positions to try to take your money, personal information, or both. These jobs are often marketed as easy and convenient ways to earn money with little effort.
Recognizing a Fraudulent Job
Check the return address for any email communication. Scammers may claim to be from a legitimate business, but their email address will be from a non-business email domain or a personal email address. For example, someone claiming to be from Google could have an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. Official emails should always come from a domain that reflects the legitimate organization.
Be on the lookout for poor grammar, weird spacing, and spelling mistakes. Poor spelling suggests the job announcement was written by a non-professional. If the employyr cant spel, do u reely wanna werk4 them?
A legitimate organization will be sure to give you the details of the company and the job that you are being hired to do. Before accepting any offer, you should know what the responsibilities of the job are and where you will be expected to work. If the offer focuses mostly on the amount of money that you could make, consider it a distraction.
Employers and employment firms shouldn’t ask you to pay for the promise of a job. Scammers may say they’ve got a job waiting or they guarantee to place you in a job, but first, you must pay a fee to cover certification, training materials, or their expenses placing you with a company. Legitimate businesses do not charge their new hires or trainees for work related training or placement.
Scam artists may rely on a sense of urgency to get you to click without thinking. They may tell you that this opportunity will not last or that there's a lot of competition for it. A real legitimate business will take its time to find the right candidate for the position and follow a carefully structured hiring process that can take weeks or months to conclude.
If you submit your application and hear back from a recruiter almost immediately, that tells you that they are not going through a legitimate process. Similarly, if they do an interview over the phone or via email and are quick to offer you a job, be wary. Legitimate organizations often require the approval of multiple individuals before someone is hired.
Scammers capitalize on your desire to earn money conveniently and may offer unrealistically high wages for little work. This is designed to entice you and get you to apply. Think wisely. How many legitimate companies can afford high wages for low skilled jobs? Why would they pay someone these wages?
Even remote employees must go through the appropriate hiring process, which can take a while and will still involve a more formal application/interview. An agreement over an email does not constitute a valid employment agreement, so you won’t have many legal protections if you do not get paid.
For more information on job offers as phishing scams, check out these examples:
Red Flags In The Job
If you have already started working, be on the lookout for these red flags:
After starting the job, you may find that the job responsibilities do not match the ones outlined in the job description. In an at-will employment state (like Virginia), the employer is free to alter the job description as they please. Therefore, there is not much legal protection for you if you’ve been caught in a bait-and-switch job offer.
That being said, you are also able to resign from a position at any time. Do not feel obligated to stay in a position where the employer has altered the conditions of employment.
Never work for free. You should know about your pay schedule and wage before you start working, and that information should be given in writing. If you do not have a written statement about your pay schedule, or if your employer has failed to pay you at the scheduled time, you are well within your rights to demand the wages owed to you.
Contact your employer in writing outlining the dates, hours, and location(s) where the work was performed for which you were not paid. Be sure to include the total amount of wages you are owed. If they still do not pay you, you can contact your local labor agency.
For more information, please refer to Virginia’s Unpaid Wages Form.
Five Rules to Follow
1. Do not give away your personal bank information, PayPal information, or similar financial app information to a new employer.
This is a ploy to get access to your bank account and money. Legitimate jobs will not ask for this information on a job application, by phone, or over email.
2. Do not forward, transfer, send by courier, or "wire" any money to any employer, or on behalf of any employer, using your personal accounts.
Scammers may tell you that they are not set up in your geographic location and need you to use your personal accounts and resources to help them get established. They may send you a check and ask for you to transfer the money somewhere while you keep a portion of it as your payment. More often than not, these checks bounce. In the meantime, the bank will hold you responsible for any transaction they have sent at your direction to other accounts. A legitimate business does not ever need you to use your personal bank account for their transactions.
3. Do not click on a link in an email without checking where it goes first.
Malicious links can be hidden in plain sight, often disguised as legitimate. Hover your cursor over a link to see where the link will actually take you.
4. Never download an attachment from a suspicious email.
A scammer may tell you that the attachment is software that you will need to do a job, but it could be malicious software designed to infect your computer and steal your personal information.
5. Do your research.
Look into the organization by exploring its web pages and social media. Is there a legitimate website? Does the contact information match the message you have received? If you google the company name followed by the word scam, the results will reveal any scam reports concerning the organization. If information about the company is hard to find, then it most likely is a scam.