How to Tell If a Job Is Really a Scam

Pay attention to warning signs

Businessman in handcuffs
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Sometimes, it seems that there are as many scams as legitimate job openings on the job boards. According to Toby Dayton, President, and CEO of LinkUp, "There is just no question that job boards as a whole can be, if they are not diligent in managing the risk for consumers, a magnet for scams, rip-offs, and identity theft.

There are hundreds of well-documented techniques and examples that people should be careful to look for." Before you apply for a job, review warning signs to help you determine if a job is a scam. If you're not sure, take the time to research the company to make sure the job is legitimate. Here are ways to tell if a job is a scam.

Research the Job and the Company

Visit the company's website and if they don't have one or it doesn't fit with how they describe the company, consider that a red flag. How professional is it? Is there contact information? Are jobs and career information posted on the site?

Use Google

Use Google to research the company. Search by the company name (if the company won't give you a name, don't bother applying) to see what information you can find. Take it one step further and search by "company name scam" to see if you can find information about reported scams.

The Job Details

If it isn't listed in the job posting, try to find out if there's a salary or if you're paid on commission. Ask how much you're paid, how often are you paid, and how you are paid. If the company doesn't pay an hourly rate or a salary, carefully investigate the details.

Check Scam Lists

Check with organizations like the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to see if the company has been reported as a scammer.

Do Not Pay

Do not pay money - for anything. Legitimate employers don't charge to hire you. Don't send money for work at home directories, advice on getting hired, company information or for anything else related to a job.

Check the Company's References

References work both ways. You are as entitled to check a company's references as they are to check you out. Ask for references if you're not sure if the company is legitimate. Request a list of other employees or contractors. Then, contact the references to ask how this is working out. If the company isn't willing to provide references (names, email addresses, and phone numbers), do not consider the opportunity.

Forget Getting Rich Quick

Avoid listings that guarantee you wealth, financial success, or that will help you get rich fast. Stay clear of listings that offer you high income for part-time hours. They will do none of the above.

Be Careful

If it sounds too good to be true, you can be sure it is. Also, read any "offers" you get very carefully. One candidate for employment got a very detailed job offer from an employer. The only problem was that she hadn't applied for the job and buried deep within the lines was a request for her bank account information so that the employer could pay her. It was a scam, of course, but with some of the well-written ones, it can be hard to tell.