We’re closing in on 2020, and you need to know: check-cashing scams haven’t gone away. If anything, they’ve become an even bigger problem, morphing in intricacy and adapting as quickly as the digital era evolves. And work at home job seekers appear to be an especially hot target.
Skip to: How to Spot a Hiring Scam Online
Recently I’ve come across these scammers working their slimy magic on eager and unsuspecting job hopefuls. Faceless keyboard villains prey on aspiring remote workers vying for nonexistent entry-level jobs. Worse, I’ve got a hunch that those who fall victim are those who can least afford the cost of being tricked.
The company I’m with is fully remote and distributed, and I work with colleagues who live across five different timezones. By all accounts, this type of asynchronously synchronous work environment is growing in popularity. Working from home isn’t just a dream situation. It is increasingly the norm across a wide range of disciplines— you no longer need to be a dev or a writer on assignment to work from your living room floor.
The outreach comes in waves, and when it does, we see emails from hopeful applicants who, too late into the process, are crossing their Ts and dotting their Is. Unfortunately, our response has only ever been, “I’m so sorry, but that’s not a role we’re currently hiring for, and we don’t have any employees by the name of [Insert the fake recruiter’s name here].” Because the interviews they’re following up after weren’t with us, and the jobs they interviewed for do not exist.
Despite advancements in security, availability of resources, and increased regulations, the fact remains that in many ways, the internet is still a lawless place. You can protect yourself from one such danger, the work at home recruitment scam if you know what to look for.In many ways, the internet is still a lawless place. You can protect yourself from one such danger, the work at home recruitment scam if you know what to look for. #workathome #remotework #workathomemom Click To Tweet
How to Spot a Hiring Scam Online
Here are the top five telltale signs that the job offer you received is a scam with a capital S.
You received an email from a recruiter or Human Resources rep, and the message came from a free email address.
- Trust me— that attractive job offer from that super-cool startup is not going to be coming from a Gmail, Hotmail, or (don’t make me laugh) Yahoo email address. Double-check to make sure the sender email address comes from the official company domain. But scammers are clever, so make sure that when you hit reply, the only email addresses that pop up in your “To” field belong to the same domain name.
The messages you receive contain obvious typos and language that is inconsistent with the vernacular used where the company is located.
- This seems like it’d be an easy one to spot, but after seeing some of the emails that were sent to victims, I guess I was wrong. If you read through an email and your gut tells you, “Hey, this seems like all sorts of wrong. Who talks like this, and WTF is with these typos?!”— Listen to your gut.
You don’t remember applying for the job.
- Some victims replied to a fake job listing, but others were contacted after the scammers scraped their info from a resumé uploaded to one of the big box job listing sites. Don’t remember applying? That’s because you probably didn’t.
Your online interview took place over email or text chat only.
- With the easy availability of video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype, companies have no reason to forgo a traditional interview experience. If you’ve received a job offer and your only communication with the company has been via email and text chat, congrats, you’ve got yourself a red flag.
Your new employer wants you to cash a check to get you started. You can spend part of it for your equipment and supplies, and you’ll need to send the balance back via Western Union or Game Stop gift cards. (Yup, that’s been a thing.)
- Run, don’t walk, and while you’re at it, report the info you have to the appropriate government agency in your jurisdiction. If you’re instructed to deposit a check for your startup costs, honey, what you’ve been offered is straight-up fake news. Cash that scam check, and you’ll be on the hook for any returned check bank fees associated with the inevitable bounce in addition to the amount you withdraw against the deposited amount.
So where can you find a real job working from home?
All that said, yes, you can find a legitimate work at home job, and easily, if you know where to look.
Here are a few resources I recommend, including some sites that we have used ourselves in our real and actual recruitment efforts:Yes, you can find a legitimate work at home job, and easily, if you know where to look. #remotework #workathome #workathomemom Click To Tweet
Just starting your search and looking for entry-level? Start here
- Rat Race Rebellion – state-of-remote-work info plus lots of entry-level job listings
Entry-level roles can be found on these remote-focused job boards, but many, if not most of the listed positions, require at least some experience or expertise.
- We Work Remotely – usually software companies, but you’ll find jobs across disciplines— not just technical stuff
- Support Driven – customer service and support jobs
- Authentic Jobs – heavy on design and development
- Remotely Awesome Jobs – lots of marketing/admin listings
- Remotive – tons of SasS job openings
- Angel List – (legit) startups galore
Stay safe out there, job seekers!
P.S. – Do your due diligence, trust your gut, and ask questions! Need advice? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter. 😉