How to Avoid Online Job Search Scams

The Internet is an amazing tool for finding just about anything you want from a new job to some obscure collectable half way around the world. However, we live in the real world and that means that bad people are out there for your money and information.

Scams are all around us and even more prevalent now that we sit behind a computer screen. Some scams are extremely obvious while others are so well formed that even I needed a second opinion on the legitimacy of an offer.

In this article, I want to share a massive collection of tips that should, once and for all, settle how to avoid job hunting scams online so you’re not wasting your time, sharing personal information with bad people, or lose out on your well earned money.

8 Tell-Tale Signs of an Online Job Hunting Scam

By no means will this list ever be complete because people are always thinking of new scams to pull but I hope that this will be more than enough to raise those red flags and prevent you from falling victim to online scams while you’re hunting for jobs. Okay! Onto the list …

#1: The Obvious Red Flags

There are a few red flags that should immediately yell “SCAM!” the moment you see them:

  • Instant Riches claims
  • Little or no information about a company
  • You didn’t request the information
  • You’re “already signed up”
  • You’re asked to pay money first

The list goes on and on but these all come from your gut instinct to smell the BS when it’s around you.

There’s a lot of scams out there; you’ll get better at identifying them with time so if it’s too good to be true than it probably is.

#2: References don’t Check Out

Any legitimate business will have their information out there on the web and in print. If you do a quick Google search and barely any information shows for the business or job listing than something probably isn’t checking out.

Likewise, you should always try to contact people that are posting the job listing to see if they could give you additional references; even then, be wary. You can relax if you’re put to an HR department but if it feels like someone is answering on their cell phone and giving you the run around than something doesn’t seem right and you should get out while you’re ahead.

#3: Not-So-Legitimate Online Job Websites

A trustworthy website will have many indicators that it’s running a legitimate service. Mainly, you should always be able to get in touch with the people behind a website, read privacy policies, learn about the company, discover reviews, feel comfortable, and see that the website is active online.

As a perfect example, is run by a company that constantly updates the website, provides feedback to its community, is a credited business, has millions of members, investors, reviews, and a track history of being legit.

On the other hand, there are plenty of websites that offer up jobs that don’t exactly “check out” such as work from home job opportunities that offer instant riches or the occasional Craigslist post you find that is too good to be true.

#4: Those Unsolicited Emails

We all get these a lot; some are all too obvious but some scammers are going through great lengths to create emails that look completely legitimate.

Don’t trust every email you receive in your inbox. An email that comes from a sender that you haven’t had previous contact with is very unlikely to be legitimate unless they can back their position whether it’s a friend of a friend or a business associate you rarely have contact with. However, even then it’s important to double check the legitimacy of the email.

In my opinion, I say just stick to responding to emails that are from companies and personal contacts; disregard the ones that come in at random. Also, never, ever, ever give away your account information through an email regardless of who’s sending because major companies never ask for this type of information through an unsecure medium such as email.

#5: Not Listed in the BBB?

The Better Business Bureau is out there to help us stay safe from not-so-straight businesses. Not all businesses may necessarily be a part of the BBB but major ones generally are and so you can use the BBB website to do a quick search for the jobs you’re applying toward.

Smaller businesses may have alternatives to the BBB badge which verifies their listing; you can often see these at the bottom of websites; click on them and you can read more about their company information, usually.

It’s not a huge thing if they’re not in the BBB but it’s a great way to weed out any potential job search scams that could be coming your way.

#6: Guaranteed? I Don’t Think So

Remember this: No one can guarantee you a job.

New scams have been popping up which are under the clever disguise of job recruiters. These services are generally run by someone that simply wants to steal y our personal information because, after all, they’re trying to help find you a job, right?

There’s no guarantee when it comes to finding a job when doing searches online so don’t fall for it.

#7: They Giving You the Run-Around?

The Internet lets anyone quickly add information and even setup completely legitimate looking websites in an afternoon. Combined with ‘affiliate marketing programs’, these websites can make money just by referring your name to other businesses.

In a nutshell, legitimate affiliate programs for online job hunting is generally one-to-one. However, some businesses gives you the complete run around where you basically hand over all of your information, they turn around and sell it to another business and the process continues until your information is on multiple lists and you’re phone is going crazy from random phone calls!

#8: The Listing is Far Too Simple

Legitimate jobs are going to come with legitimate requirements.

You can easily tell the difference when you begin digging around. Real job listings will nearly always have some overview of the company, job position requirements, contact information and additional options for learning more about the position.

Scam listings are usually very short and sound a bit too “off”; these are generally vague job listings without any real way of contacting except through email – don’t fall for these. magento development companies

What happens if you DID Fall for It?

Before you run off and jump back into your online job search; I wanted to leave you with a few additional tips to help if you’ve been a recent victim of an online scam.

There’s a lot more too it but here are some of the basics to get cleared up:

Call and put holds onto your credit and debit cards or go a step further and have them completely canceled and have new ones activated.

Change ALL of your online passwords to your accounts.

Check and verify your bank statements for any ref flag purchases that you didn’t do.

For further information and suggestions, I recommend you check out this post on what to do after being scammed.


As long as you’re level headed when doing your online job searches – you’ll be fine. The big thing is that you use your common sense when the offer is too good to be true. There are a lot of scams out there so you’re going to deal with them while you’re searching for jobs but knowing these signs will let you wade past the garbage and find the real gems that will be your next career. ecommerce development companies