Stay Alert and Avoid Job Scams: How to Spot the Red Flags and Protect Yourself

Red flag planted in the side of a hill

Applying for a job is more complicated now than it used to be. Previously, you would find a job in newspaper advertisements, send your resume, and wait for a phone call to schedule an interview. Now, the process is more complicated, and you need to watch out for red flags of job scams. In the modern age, you post your resume online and find job openings virtually. While that makes the job search more convenient, you also need to be savvier to protect yourself.

How to Spot the Red Flags of Job Scams and Protect Yourself

Scammers are sophisticated and use different tactics to steal from you. In general, be wary if the company asks you to

Buy Gift Cards

One tactic criminals use is to deposit money in your bank account (or give you a check to deposit). Then, they ask you to buy gift cards with that money. Usually, the check is fraudulent, and you will lose several thousand dollars. A legitimate employer will never ask you to buy gift cards.

Receive and Reship Packages

Woman sitting on a couch surrounded by packages

Another scam is to ask for your home address so that you can receive packages from the company. Then, they’ll ask you to reship the packages, usually to a location in Russia. But again, a legitimate company wouldn’t ask you to do this.

In this case, the criminals likely bought the items with stolen credit cards. Then they use your address as a delivery point to keep their identity safe so they don’t face prosecution.

Give Your Bank Account Number

Spotting the red flags of job scams may be more problematic when it comes to deciding whether to give out your bank account number and your social security number. While you may avoid the first two scams because you know businesses don’t ask people to buy gift cards and reship packages, all employers DO ask for your bank account number and social security number. That is so they can direct deposit your check and pay taxes for you.

However, the key here is that no employer should ask for this information before you’ve been hired and signed a contract. If they do, you’re likely being scammed.

Another Red Flag

Another red flag is if the emails from the “employer” come from gmail, yahoo, or some other general email. Companies usually have their own email addresses and will not use public email services. If the email is not associated with a specific company, you’re likely dealing with a scammer.

Final Thoughts

The internet makes applying for a job easier, but unfortunately, it also makes it easier for criminals to take advantage of you. Recognize these red flags of job scams to protect yourself. If you can weed out the companies that ask you to do these things, you’ll have a better chance of finding a legitimate job and protecting your identity and finances.

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