Protect Yourself from Scams

1. The job ad asks for money. Steer clear of job postings that ask for bank account numbers, credit card digits, social security numbers, PayPal account details, and other sensitive personal information. If you come across the phrase “wire transfer” in the ad or any correspondence with the hiring manager, it’s a surefire sign that the opportunity is a scam.


2. The ad is filled with errors. Everyone makes mistakes, but a posting riddled with typos, all caps, exclamation marks, unsightly formatting, and spelling and grammatical errors should make you think twice before clicking “apply.”


3. The posting is missing critical information. Take caution if the ad leaves out the company name, job location, and a link to the company website. But remember, even ads bearing legitimate company names could be fraudulent since scammers can impersonate real employers.


4. The contact information includes a significant domain name. When contact info in an ad consists of an email address with a major (or unknown) domain name (such as or rather than the employer’s domain, tread lightly. Similarly, be wary of email communications with the employer that do not include a signature or contact details.


In addition to recognizing red flags, job seekers must take proactive steps to protect themselves when searching for their next career opportunity. Here are four tips for safely navigating the online recruitment space:


1. Read all content in the ad carefully. Again, look for glaring typos, missing information, mentions of wire transfers, and contact email addresses with prominent or unknown domain names. Double-check for disclaimers or “fine print” at the bottom of the ad. By reviewing the posting thoroughly, you’ll also ensure that you’re fully qualified for the position and understand the directions for applying.


2. Research the employer. Check the company’s website to verify that the position exists. (And if you can’t find the company’s website, you might want to start running in the opposite direction.) When in doubt of an ad’s legitimacy, call or email the employer to see if they are actively recruiting for that role.


3. See what others are saying. Consult the company’s Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission ratings, and other review websites. Even if the company is a “real” employer, you will find valuable insights on these sites that may (or may not) deter you from pursuing an opportunity with them.


4. Take caution with links. Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails that appear to be personalized notes from a hiring manager or recruiter who saw your resume on a job board. If unsure that the email is genuine, research (see tips 2 and 3) before moving forward.