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5 Ways to Avoid Falling for Online Job Scams

5 Ways to Avoid Falling for Online Job Scams
Don't fall victim to new online job scams / Credit: Job Scam image via Shutterstock

If your searching the Internet for work, it is important to be extra cautious when some jobs sound too good to be true.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning job seekers of a new Craigslist job scam that uses tempting offers and the names of real organizations, including the BBB, to attract victims.

The current scam advertises that the BBB is hiring 10 customer service representatives for a new branch office. The ad claims that the job doesn't require previous experience, or even a résumé, and that all job seekers need to do is respond immediately to ensure they secure one of the limited interview slots.

However in the end, there is no job. In reality, it is a scam that is trying to lure money out of those who apply.

The BBB says there are numerous ways in which the scammers can con job seekers out of money, including by asking them to pay upfront for training, which never materializes, or by "hiring" them and sending a fake check.  

"The con artists will instruct you to deduct a fraction for payment and wire the rest back," the BBB writes in its alert. "Other scams ask you to complete an online application that requests personal identifying information and bank account numbers that can be used for identity theft."

To help job seekers, the BBB offers several tips to avoid falling for a fake job scam.

  • Some positions are more likely to be scams: Use extra caution when looking at ads for jobs with generic titles, such as admin assistant or customer service representative. These often don't require special training or licensing, so they appeal to a wide range of applicants
  • Watch out for these phrases: Scam ads often contain the phrases "Teleworking OK," "Immediate Start" and "No Experience Needed." Watch out for ads that urge you to apply immediately.
  • If a job looks suspicious, search for it on Google:If the result comes up in many other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam.
  • Be very cautious of any job that asks you to share personal information or hand over money:Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or paying for training.
  • Check out the business's website to make sure the opening is posted there: If you are still skeptical, call the business to check on the position. Don't rely on websites or phone numbers provided in the advertisement; find the "employer" on your own to make sure it's the real deal.
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.