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Job scams are not new. They’ve been around for quite a while. However, in recent years these scams increased since many businesses are now functioning entirely online, which means little or no real contact between owner and employees. Scammers didn’t take long to exploit this context and post fake job ads that only aim to gather sensitive personal information from candidates or even exploit their skills without offering any form of payment. Here are some of the most common job scams you should be aware of if you are currently looking for a job.

Fake Website Job Posts

Many fake job listings are designed to mimic well-known companies. Usually, these job postings refer to remote positions. Scammers create websites that mimic those of real companies. However, if you look closely, you might see that the name in the URL is altered because it is impossible to duplicate one that already exists. These websites might have different purposes, but none is actually offering real employment opportunities. The goal might be to collect personal information such as addresses, bank card information, or social security numbers by asking people to fill out application forms. Some scammers might even go further and send you tasks to work on, especially if you’re a freelancer. In the end, however, you won’t get paid for your work as the company doesn’t exist.

Wire Transfer Scams

Some jobs do involve making wire transfers for your company. However, this shouldn’t involve your personal bank account. A wire transfer job scam usually involves a company that claims it is based abroad. In order to be able to conduct business in your country, the company needs to have a bank account registered there. Since they don’t have one, they ask you, their new employee, to accept a wire transfer and move the money into another account once you receive it. Even if the company promises you a large commission from each payment, it’s better to avoid doing this as you most probably risk getting involved in some sort of fraud.

Pyramid Job Schemes

Pyramid schemes have been used both in retail and in the world of investments. In marketing, this practice is no longer legit. Pyramid schemes imply recruiting a large number of people. Everyone is asked to contribute with money either by paying for a subscription or making an investment. The goal is to gather as many people as possible in order to gain more profits. Everyone is promised money, but the few people who actually get paid are only the founders of the scheme and the first joiners. Basically, a pyramid scheme doesn’t produce any money, it just exchanges money. Those who join the scheme first, are paid from the contributions of new joiners. Someone always loses in this type of system and jobs that involve them often mean working for free to find new recruits.

Paid Interviews or Job Portal Accounts

Some fake websites leverage the reputation of big companies they supposedly collaborate with and claim that applying through them will significantly improve your chances of getting hired. However, there is a trick, if you want to create an account on their platform, you must pay for a subscription first. This is strange, given the large number of well-established job platforms that are free. Don’t let the fake guarantee of a secured job lure you into paying the membership fee. Obviously, no job portal can guarantee that you will get hired if you haven’t even participated in any interviews in the first place.

Alternatively, fake job platforms or fake companies even charge money to allow candidates to attend interviews. The bait is the same – they promise a guaranteed job.

Paid Training Scams

In the real world, it is unlikely to come across a serious company that asks you to pay them to train you, so that you can then start working for them. The worst-case scenario is that you go through an unpaid internship before you get hired. However, scammers often manage to lure people and make them pay for their training by promising extremely attractive salaries after the training is completed. Be skeptical if you are asked to pay for a training period upfront.

These are just some of the most common job scams you might encounter. To avoid them, it’s better to do your research online and investigate any company that seems shady. There are so many legit job portals and companies out there that it would be a shame to fall for one that is only looking forward to exploiting you.

Credit: ClearWater Management Korea.