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5 online job scams and how to avoid them
This Story expires on: Friday Jun. 30, 2017

Life has become easier in many ways since the internet became accessible to many of our homes. The days of driving all over town to take care of a handful of errands and financial transactions are over.

However, checking errands off your to-do list isn't the only thing you can do online. It's also a great resource to find a part-time or full-time job.

But how do you know if these job listings are real or fake?

That's why you need to know about these five online job scams and how to avoid them.

1. Unclear job description and requirements in unsolicited emails

Lots of fraudulent job listings get sent directly to our email's inbox. The scammers who send them attempt to make the message sound believable and from a legit company. Many times they will include vague job requirements that most anyone would qualify for. Here are a few examples:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have internet access

Pretty much everyone fits those requirements. Another thing to watch out for in these emails is the fact that the job's description is usually either missing or also vague.

These things should never happen with a legitimate company. If it's a serious job opening, the company would definitely tell the potential employee what the actual responsibilities would be.

You shouldn't reply to any unsolicited email that is vague. If you do, most likely you would be falling for a scam.

2. Does the job sound too good to be true?

Good, well-paying jobs are not easy to come by. Even with a college degree, it could take years of experience working in a certain field to land one of these great positions.

You might receive an email from an alleged recruiter claiming to have found your resume online. One sure way to know that this is a scam is you are offered the position without even having to go through an interview process. You're just asked to click on a link and provide your personal data.

The open position is usually described as having very flexible hours with extremely high pay. Many of them are said to be work-from-home jobs that pay nearly $100,000 a year for only working 20 hours a week.

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. The best way to find jobs online is to go through well-known job sites that only allow verified employers to post jobs and view lists of candidates.

3. You're asked to interview through an instant messenger service

Scammers are famous for trying to chat with victims via an instant messenger service. Yahoo Instant Messenger in particular.

If you are looking for a job and are asked to interview through an instant messenger service, it might be a scam. The fraudster will ask you to give them vital data like your Social Security number, or credit card or banking information to verify your identity. That's a terrible idea!

A reputable company looking for employees won't be conducting interviews through an IM service. Even if the job you're applying for is an online position, at the very least you will be interviewed over the phone or via Skype.

4. Phishing emails

Some emails that claim to be from job recruiters are actually phishing attacks. The scammers send official looking emails, hoping to get victims to click on malicious links. Doing so could lead to numerous problems like infecting your gadget with malware or ransomware.

Even though the scammer attempts to make the emails look official, they usually make several mistakes. Phishing emails are famous for being riddled with grammar and punctuation errors.

Click here to take our phishing IQ test and see if you can spot a fake email.

5. To get the job, you're asked to purchase something

There are tons of scams out there asking potential new hires to purchase something in order to get the position. Just remember, legitimate companies will not ask you for money for hire. If you are asked to buy software or one of its services before being hired, run! It's most likely a scam.

Some fraudsters offer victims a well-paying job that they can do from home. The catch is they need to purchase a software package from them in order to do the job. This software can cost hundreds of dollars. Don't fall for it!

Other fake job offers will ask the victim to pay for their own credit report or have their resume reviewed. This is not normal practice by legitimate companies looking for workers.

Finding a job online is possible. You just need to stick with known sources and job sites to avoid being scammed.

By Mark Jones,

Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA

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