You are here

Avoid Job Search Scams

There are many job search sites on the Internet. Many are beneficial to candidates seeking employment. However, job search scams do exist and it is important for job seekers to take the necessary precautions to avoid such scams. The World Privacy Forum states, “Job scams are fake job ads…that seek to lure job seekers to give up personal data and/or perform a fake job.”

  • Avoid job search sites that say they will “guarantee employment”. No one can guarantee you employment! If a job search site says it can guarantee employment, it should be a red flag to you that something isn’t right with this resource.

  • Be cautious of fee-based employment services. Some employment services might say they will give you your money back if they cannot find a job for you. However, you should read the fine-print carefully. Make sure you understand the terms of the contract before you sign.

  • Pay attention to email addresses. Most companies have their own designated email address. Be wary of recruiters who use a generic email address such as,,, etc. Do not give your personal information to anyone using a generic email address.

  • Some job scams come to a person via email, not from a commercial job board. Likewise, job scams can target unsuspecting job seekers via text messaging. Be cautious of job postings in which you cannot verify if the source providing the information is reliable.

  • Research! Never heard of a company that has a job posting you are considering applying for? Start by looking the company up in your job search account under the Employer section. If additional research is necessary, research the company through an independent website, such as


In addition to the above mentioned tips, the World Privacy Forum provides additional words of caution. The website discusses six areas of caution and states, “Red flags that should alert you to the presence of a job scam include:

  1. Request for bank account numbers.

  2. Request for SSN. [ECS note: not necessary needed until you have a firm offer – for background/credit/security checks - or on the first day of the job when you’re filling out an income tax withholding form.]

  3. Request to "scan the ID" of a jobseeker, for example, a drivers' license. Scam artists will say they need to scan jobseekers' IDs to "verify identity." This is not a legitimate request.

  4. A contact email address that is not a primary domain. For example, an employer calling itself "Omega Inc." will have a Yahoo! email address.

  5. Misspellings and grammatical mistakes in the job ad.

  6. lists descriptive words in job postings that are tip-offs to fraud. Their list includes "package-forwarding," "money transfers," "wiring funds," "eBay," and "PayPal." WPF researchers also found that the term "Foreign Agent Agreement" often appears in contracts and emails sent to jobseekers.”


A note of caution also applies to companies which require an up-front financial investment with the promise of a huge earnings potential. Similarly, ads that promote “work from home” with huge financial gains are usually false claims as well. Remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

***If you are ever in doubt if a career opportunity is legit or not, ECS is here to help! ECS career counselors are happy to evaluate job opportunities with you that you may find questionable. Additional information concerning job scams can be found on the following website:

"Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don't have brains enough to be honest."
-Benjamin Franklin

Authored by Dean Pidcock.