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3 job scams to be aware of

Applying for jobs on the internet is often a stressful experience. The sheer number of postings out there plus the volume of submissions for any given position – 250 resumes per corporate opening, according to Glassdoor for Employers – means that jobseekers can go months without any luck in getting hired.

To make matters worse, there are many job-related scams on the web. Many of these schemes have the effect of duping an applicant into thinking he or she has been offered a position, when in fact no such job exists. Beyond this deception, they may also put the person’s information at risk from phishing schemes and malware.

Here are three such scams to keep an eye out for as you hunt for jobs on the web:

1. An email soliciting personal information

Job application forms are typically where you enter personal details such as your phone number, email address and work history. You should always double-check the site’s domain for a padlock to ensure that what you supply is secured by HTTPS encryption.

But what if you get a follow-up email that is not simply a confirmation, but a solicitation for more info? Be skeptical. You may be asked for a bank account number to set up direct deposit, or instructed to open a new account. Either way, do not give in to these requests since you could lose a lot of money as a result.

Be careful when replying to job ads.Be careful when replying to job ads.

2. A job that is too good to be true

Not everything on a job board is legitimate, despite the screening processes that many services use. Some platforms such as Craigslist warn against offers that mention work from home opportunities or escrow payments. This is good advice.

Be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true, e.g., one that specifies $50 an hour for working at home from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check to see if the job board you are using has a privacy policy with fine print stipulating that only verified employers can post on it.

3. A company that isn’t even real

With few exceptions, most organizations wait for applicants to come to them. If you find a company instead reaching out to you directly without you having previously submitted an application, be suspicious – the firm may not even be real.

“Look out for typos, strange capitalizations and grammatical mistakes.”

In many cases, the emails it sends will be riddled with typos, strange capitalizations and grammatical mistakes, all of which should tip you off further that something’s not right. Do not respond to these inquiries, since they may prompt you to supply more information or drag you out even further in instant messenger “interviews” that are a waste of time, not to mention a risk to your privacy.

Job searching is not easy. But it can be made less difficult by steering clear of these common scams. Watch out for unusual communications and use protective measures such as virtual private networks and spam filtering to protect yourself.