4 ways to spot a job scam

Job ads that sound too good to be true probably are. Watch out for these pocket pinching cons, says CV Library founder Lee Biggins.

by Lee Biggins
Last Updated: 15 Sep 2016

What’s your first port of call when looking for work? Safe to say it’s probably not in the back pages of a newspaper anymore. The task of searching for a job has become a digital one and while this means you can now look for new opportunities anywhere at any time, it also makes you more susceptible to online scammers who wish to lure innocent job hunters out of money. 

Worse still, according to data from CV-Library and e-crime non-profit organisation, SAFERjobs, 72.1% of job hunters aren’t savvy enough when it comes to spotting the signs of such scams.

While some job scams can be extremely convincing, there are some signs which you should be on the look-out for.

1. Illegitimate companies or emails

A lot of scammers get away with tricking candidates because they appear to be getting in touch from companies that sound real. This means it’s important to double check the URL or website for any company that gets in touch with you directly. And, make sure you pay attention to spelling. Some will get away with just the smallest of changes in order to appear legitimate.

Alongside this, personal email addresses, unrelated to the company in question, e.g. joebloggs@hotmail.com, or illegitimate company names and web addresses altogether could signal that the job in question is a scam. Make sure you do your research.

2. Poor spelling and grammar

While we all make the odd spelling or grammar mistake when typing an email quickly, regular blunders could indicate poor translation. Scam emails are often badly written, riddled with spelling mistakes, use basic words and generally don’t appear to make sense when you read them.

Also pay close attention to the words used to describe the role in question. Many try to ‘wow’ candidates with vocabulary that suggests it’s a very senior position. Watch out for exclamation marks too (!). This is another way to try and reel you in by making the job sound exciting.

Take precautions and read through the email in detail before you commit to anything and don’t forget to ask a friend or family member to check it too.

3. Too good to be true

I’m sorry to say but unrealistic salaries, job offers without interviews and roles which state ‘No Experience Necessary’ as a job title will likely be scams. After all – in any job you will need some form of experience and all employers will want to see if you’re the right fit before they decide on whether to employ you in their company.

Other scams offer the promise of making money without having to leave the house, but while we’d all like to work from home and ‘Get Rich Quick’ in our first three months, it’s highly unlikely that this is going to happen. Basically; if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

4. Show me the money

You should never have to pay to process your application - or for any additional training or screening at that. The sad reality is a lot of candidates who are keen to find jobs will cough up the cash and this is fuelling scammers to target innocent job hunters even further.

One of the main tricks that scammers use is to request candidates to pay for Extortionate DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) costs (anything over £75 should be queried), or request a candidate to pay for a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau), which no longer exists.

Premium rate phone numbers for interviews are also another sign of a scam. A recruiter or employer should always call you, rather than the other way round.

Job scammers are savvy, and use a variety of methods to lure in vulnerable job hunters. These are just some examples of tactics that scammers use - educating yourself on staying safe online and recognising a job scam is important if you want to conduct a safe and successful job hunt.

Image credit: AntanO/Wikipedia


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