Is this job a scam? Is it too good to be true?
The answer in most cases is yes. If someone wants to hire you right away and send you money for doing nothing, then it’s a scam. Below are some tips to protect yourself from fraudulent practices.
How to spot a fraudulent job posting or recruitment effort
- You’re contacted with a non-business email address
Many times the job posting will have what appears to be a legitimate email address (using an alias). However, the conversation will then shift to a personal email address. It is extremely rare for businesses to use web-based emails such as Gmail or Hotmail to correspond with candidates.
- You’re offered the job on the spot
Legitimate employers never hire anyone without a professional and thorough interview and reference checking process. Legitimate interviews are face to face, via Skype, or over the phone.
- The business does not identify itself
A legitimate business does not take applications without identifying itself first. Random and anonymously placed clipboards should not be filled in by anyone. Any solicitation for a job will include a clear indication of who is hiring and what kind of work that involves. Do not provide any personal information to anyone unless you have a complete and detailed job description and an organisational profile. This includes individuals presenting themselves in hallways, tunnels and streets. Do not provide information to anyone holding clipboard unless it is clear whom they represent. It should be noted that solicitation of students on-campus is strictly prohibited unless it is a university-affiliated group.
- You need to wire money or cash a cheque
If you are asked to provide banking information, receive an e-transfer, cheque, or money order and you haven’t done anything, then alert your bank. Never cash a cheque and transfer funds to a “supplier”. Often a victim is asked to cash a check from a “supplier” or “client”. This will cover the victim’s pay/salary with the difference to be forwarded to the out-of-town supplier. The victim is often left with owing the bank for the bounced cheque. Legitimate businesses don’t operate like this. Most international businesses require a brokerage and banking support to complete legal international transactions.
- You’re asked to do an interview by IM or texting
Again, no legitimate business (big or small) will use texting or IM to conduct interviews or contact prospective employees.
- They contact you at odd hours
Many of the fraudsters are in different time zones or continents (recent examples: Europe or Africa). During correspondence they will portray themselves as “travelling business owners” or “away for a while on business”; this is how they hide the fact that they are located on another continent.
- There’s no experience necessary
If someone wants to hire you to handle large amounts of cash with no accounting or financial management experience then it is most likely a scam. If you are asked to handle operations and supplies for a legitimate business, some experience is always required. See #3 above.
- Things don’t add up as you do your research
Often fraudsters will try to use legitimate businesses as a front. The job posting will often use a real business name and possibly a link to a real website. Always check those sites thoroughly. Often a legitimate company will use a corporate human resources branch to correspond with candidates. Contact the number on the website or job posting to confirm it is legitimate. If there is no website or no mention of it on Glassdoor and LinkedIn then that is a sign that things are not adding up.
- They ask for personal information
If you are asked for your personal information without a meeting anyone then this could be a scam. Never share your banking information, social insurance number, credit cards, or other identity documents over email or the internet. Your identity could be stolen.
See some of the other examples of employment scams at the Government of Canada’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Home – Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca)