While the website is full of reputable and legit businesses looking to grow their ranks via job listings on online marketplace boards like Craigslist, Monster, and Indeed, it’s entirely possible that the dream job you believe you’ve found online is a scammer or spammer trying to take your personal info, or a less-than-reputable business that might not compensate you adequately for your work.
How can you tell a scam artist from a legitimate career opportunity? Just follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Really Look At The Ad
This one may seem obvious, but you might be surprised how many potential scams you can avoid by giving a posting a thorough review.
Read it out loud.
- Are there numerous typos?
- Is the grammar off?
- Are there exclamation points everywhere?
- Does the language sound unnatural or forced?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the posting can almost certainly be written off as a scam.
Step 2: Do a Google Search
Before you start a conversation with the employer, take a second to look them up. See if they have positive reviews on Google or other review websites. Check the maps to see if a physical location appears in your area when you look for them.
Step 3: Scan for Message Board Posts
If the posters are scammer or spammers or non-reputable companies, chances are someone has taken to the online to vent about it. People don’t like being taken for a fool and will likely write forum posts on sites like Yahoo! Answers trying to keep other online job-seekers from suffering the same fate.
Read through the post and try to determine if this is merely the work of a disgruntled employee or someone who truly was tricked.
Step 4: Look For Outside Recommendations and Awards
Have professionals given the business their seal of approval? Is it listed as a “top workplace”? Are their interviews with the owners or profiles of the business conducted by actual reporters for legitimate magazines and newspapers?
Then, as long as the listing is from the company it claims to be, everything should be just fine.
Step 5: Ask Questions in the E-mail
If you feel confident that this posting is real, ask questions during your e-mail. When the response comes, check it for answers. Did they respond to the e-mail you sent or did they send you a generic response that in no way relates to what you said?
If you chose the latter, you are probably dealing with a bot.
Step 6: Avoid the Following
If you get a response that is just a link, don’t click it. Just drop the job offer and walk away. That website will more than likely install malicious software (or “malware”) onto your computer.
These programs run secretly and can use your computer for a number of devious activities. There are other less obvious signs that you should not believe a poster including:
• Requests for credit checks and credit reports
• Requests to enter ANY banking info
• Online forms asking for personal info
• Any request for or indications of money orders.
• Sites that inexplicably offer exorbitant salaries
• Survey websites
• Any site that you have to sign up for
Craigslist is a useful tool for job searchers, as long as you are careful. Follow these simple steps and always trust your gut when looking for jobs. If it seems too good to be true, or even the slightest bit suspicious, it probably is.
Don’t be discouraged or frightened by all this talk of scams, with a little work, it is easy to find a top-ranked business in your area that really is looking to bring on new hires.