What’s worse than not getting the job you really wanted? Getting caught by a scam that targets university-age people looking for work. It happens when you apply for a job that looks and sounds real enough, but then things quickly go bad. Before you know it, you’ve given away your banking info and $4,000 has been taken out of your account. So how do you spot a bogus job?
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
If the company is offering you a ridiculous amount of money, or the chance to “get rich quick,” there’s a good chance it’s a scam. If it offers to give you an advance on future earnings before you’ve even done any work, stay far away. There aren’t many legitimate organizations that will do that.
Research the company
Check its website. Does it look professional or like someone’s 6-year-old sister made it in 1998? Is it filled with typos and grammatical mistakes? Does it contain relevant information about the company and the main people? Does it have any contact info?
Search the company on Google. What kind of results do you get? Does its name (or the names of individuals associated with the company) come up in any news results that show it in a bad light? What happens if you do a search of the company name with “scam” after it?
If there are signs that the company may not be what it says it is, or has been involved in any type of fraud, stay away.
Have an interview before accepting a job
Ideally, the company will want to meet you in person before they hire you. If that’s impossible, they’ll do an interview via Skype or another video messaging service. Beware of any company that agrees to hire you without any interview at all, or wants to conduct one via text. Those are serious red flags.
A related scam involves the company offering you the job for a “trial period” before you’ve had an interview. They then say they need your banking info so they can set you up for direct deposit. No legitimate company will talk about anything payroll related until after you’ve had a proper interview and received a real job offer.
Don’t give away your personal info
Unless you’ve verified that the company is legitimate, and they have already offered you a job in writing with all the pertinent information, DO NOT give them your banking info (including debit/credit card information), social insurance number, or a copy of any piece of your ID (including driver’s licence, passport, and DalCard).
One scam involves the company asking you to fill out an online job application. The link takes you to a site where you’re supposed to input everything they need to steal your identity: birth date, social insurance number, credit card info, and other personal information.
Another one involves the company saying they need to check your credit score before the next step in the hiring process, and they ask for similar personal information.
Watch the money
Don’t give the company any money. One scam asks you to buy things that are supposedly related to the job (company information, software, guidebooks, training programs, etc.), and say they’ll reimburse you later. Don’t do it. No legitimate company is going to ask you for money.
Another one asks you to purchase a pre-paid Visa debit card to send to the company so they can pay for a background check for you. Only a scammer would try this.
Likewise, don’t accept any money from the company unless it’s your first paycheque. Some scams involve giving you an “advance” and when you deposit it into your bank account, the fake company steals your banking information and cleans out your account.
Check their references
Just like a potential employer can ask for your references, you can ask them for references if you have any bad feeling about them. Ask if you can get in touch with other employees or clients. If the company refuses to give you that info, walk away.
What to do if you’re scammed
If any company you’re in contact with manages to get any of your financial or other personal information, get in touch with your bank and/or credit card company right away and let them know that you think someone has stolen your info.
If it happens to you when you’ve responded to a job posting on Dalhousie’s myCareer listings, or you see a posting that you think might be a scam, contact Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-494-4120.