8 Telltale signs a job ad is fake

Error Something Went Wrong Under Construction Concept. Image: Freepik

Error Something Went Wrong Under Construction Concept. Image: Freepik

Published Aug 11, 2023


Gugulethu Shinga

Job hunting is never easy, and it becomes a daunting process when you’re not having any luck. You end up feeling desperate and will take any job that comes your way. This is how you fall prey to job scams.

“The bad news is that job scams are out there. But the good news is you can spot them before they get you, if you know what to look for. Don't be fooled by something that is too good to be true,” says careers writer, Tyler Omoth.

Here are Omoth’s eight telltale signs that a job posting is actually a scam:

You never applied

A recruiter calls you and says that they found your CV online. While you may consider yourself lucky, don’t commit to anything quickly - it's a good bet that this is a scam. Hear them out, but then do your research.

The pay is too good to be true

If you are looking for a job, chances are you have a good idea what the average salary is for that job and your experience level. If a job advertisement lists that position for two or three times the typical salary, be wary.

Your research comes up empty

Research is key. If you see a listing but can't find a good website for the company, consider it a red flag. The same goes for a recruiter. If you talk to someone about a job that could be a great fit for you, but you can't find the recruiter on LinkedIn or a company website, consider it a warning sign.

Suspicious URL

You must check out the company website that was listed with the job posting. First, check out that URL - is the company name spelled correctly? Most companies want their website URL to be short and sweet because that helps Google identify their page easily, so a long and confusing URL may be a bad sign.

The recruiter has a generic email

Whether your correspondence is with a recruiter from a recruiting agency or the HR person at the hiring company, you should expect that they'll have a company email address. If the recruiter is using a generic email service, like Gmail or Yahoo, they're either not legit or really unprofessional. In either case, you'll want to move on.

Asking for an interview via messaging service

While remote interviews have become a norm, there are still some basic guidelines that should be followed. Interviews are still typically held via Skype or Zoom. Using a messaging or chat service is highly unprofessional and a good way for a scammer to hide their identity. No legitimate company is going to interview you via a messaging service such as WhatsApp.

You get asked for personal information

Timing is everything on this one. There is a point in the interview process where the employer may need to get some personal information to conduct a background check. If an employer is asking you for your personal information and you're still early in the interview process, it should trigger your scam alert senses.

You're asked to pay for something

You've been looking for a remote position, and you finally found one that looks amazing. The only problem is that you're asked to pay some money at the start to help fund the equipment you'll need to get set up. Don't fall for it - this is a simple grab-the-money-and-run scam. No reputable company will ask you to pay them to get equipment for your job. It's that simple.