There it is – a job offer you’ve been dreaming about for months or even years. Good working conditions, excellent hours, and a mind-blowing paycheck. It’s so good that you ask yourself could it actually be a scam? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true – good jobs are incredibly difficult to find, and jobs which offer getting rich overnight are most likely a scam. If you’re not sure about the job you’ve been offered, here’s what you should do to protect yourself from being scammed.
First things first: you need to find out whether the company you’ve contacted (or you’ve been contacted by) actually exists. See if they have a website and look for additional information in other places as well, such as LinkedIn or Facebook. Feel free to search by “company name + scam” on Google. If you can’t find a website, or the information you find on their website differs from the one you’ve been given, consider it a major red flag. Also, pay attention to small things: Is the website professional; Is there any contact information available, and most importantly, are there any job and career information posted?
If the person conducting the interview asks you for money – no matter the amount – you should know that the job you’ve applied for doesn’t exist. Feel free to talk about money, ask them if there will be a salary or you’ll be paid on commission, and ask how much you’re going to be paid. You also need to know how and how often will you be payed, and if the company doesn't pay you, you should carefully investigate the details. If you suspect that you’ve been scammed or that somebody is trying to scam you, you should talk to consumer fraud lawyers who will be able to help you by advising you about the legal steps you can take.
When communicating with the company to schedule an interview, you should pay attention to the emails you receive and look for obvious signs of scam. Are the company’s emails well-written and grammatically correct? Are they using the right punctuation signs and good grammar? They will probably ask for your personal details straightaway, or even hire you without conducting more than one interview only to ask for your bank account details so they could pay you. Have they contacted you without even seeing your CV or hired you without speaking to you? You can be positive that there’s a scam behind the job offer.
Just as your potential employers are entitled to check your references to see if you’re being honest, you are equally entitled to check theirs, because references work both ways. If you’re not sure whether the company is legitimate or they’ve done something to raise your suspicions, feel free to ask them for references – ask for a list of other contractors or other employees. After you get it, contact some of the people and ask about work conditions and how long they’ve been working for the company. In case the company hesitates to meet your requests and provide you with names, phone numbers, and email addresses, thank them for the opportunity and leave.
It’s very important to always be careful. Sometimes, you might get a wonderful job offer, exceptionally well-written and detailed, but it could still be a scam. If your potential employers ask for your bank account information or if you get an offer for a job you didn’t even apply to, you should be suspicious and do some research before you reveal any kind of information to the other party. Some well-written scams are difficult to uncover, so it’s important to be extra cautious about every new offer.