I recently partnered with a recruiting firm and have spent the last several months combing through the thousands of jobs that are listed in LinkedIn and other popular job posting sites. The most eagerly sought after employment, far and away, are remote jobs.

The possibility of working from home and setting your own schedule sounds very attractive to those seeking these highly sought after opportunities. Because they are so attractive, work from home jobs have become a favorite of scam artists. It can be difficult learning to distinguish legitimate work-at-home jobs from would be scammers, but there are legitimate remote jobs that can allow you to work from just about anywhere.

As a recruiter, it pains me to see these scammers posing as a fellow recruiter or sometimes even as an employer, preying on job seekers who by their very nature, are hoping against hope that they can find something they can do. In a nutshell, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and an alarm should sound in your head.

Here are 5 red flags to look for when seeking remote work from online sources.

When You Are Asked For Payment Upfront

Alarm bells should be ringing loudly when you see this one. It goes something like this: you need to send money for training expenses or travel charges or “required” software or starter kits. If you are asked for money upfront, STAY AWAY! Remember that you are looking for a PAYING job, not one that requires you to PAY OUT.

When The Description Of The Job Is Unclear

As you read through the details that are posted, is it missing crucial and important information? Are there lots of grammatical errors and misspellings? This is a clear sign that its likely a fake. Often these scammers are not native English speakers so the nuances of the language are lost when they write things down. A legitimate job listing is professionally written, with much time and energy spent to attract the RIGHT type of applicant. It will contain specific requirements, including any required skills or experience or educational credentials. It will NOT be a catch-all description. Remember, a job posting will tell you a lot about a company or employer and they are fully aware of that. A legitimate employer will take the time to write a well written description and if necessary, enlist a native speaker to proof read their content and make sure it is correct.

When You Are Asked For Personal Information

If you are asked for confidential information before you receive a formal offer, WALK AWAY! Never give out your personal information, ESPECIALLY bank details, social security numbers or passport information. Scammers use this information to steal your identity, your money or maybe even commit a crime in your name. Keep your information private. You will eventually need to provide this information, but it will be AFTER you have been hired officially and they need information to pay you.

Pro Tip: If you submit your information over the internet, make sure the website or portal that you are using is secure. A secure website will start with https:// in the address, also called a URL for Universal Resource Locator, which is where the web page is located. If you look at the address bar on top of this article, you will notice that it starts with https://shopkeepersinsight and then the article name. You should also notice a little lock next to the address on the left side. This indicates that the site is secure. The “S” in https stands for ‘secure.’

When The Email Address Your Application Goes To Is Generic Or From A Free Account

A legitimate company or employer will use their business email address to communicate with you. Free accounts like Google, Yahoo and the MANY others should raise a red flag when used in a job posting. It is very easy and takes literally seconds to set up a free email address…that’s why scammers use them. They send a bunch of scam communications and then move on to another address. What looks more legit: an email coming from anyone@company.com or one coming from anyone@yahoo.com? Even if you receive an email from what looks like a legitimate business account, pay attention because scammers often make it LOOK like its coming from a real company. If you hover your cursor over the text in the sender field, it should look like a legitimate address. A scam address will be revealed if you take just a few seconds to verify the sender’s outgoing address.

If It Seems To Good To Be True…

Above all, an offer of employment needs to pass the “smell” test. We’ve all seen the “make $5000 / day with little or no training” ads. These get-rich-quick postings are the most obvious, but there are lots of other tricks scammers use. Other possibilities include the promise of very high paychecks with no prior experience, an offer of employment without an interview, or no ability to talk to a live person. There are, of course, legitimate companies that offer generous benefits and high salaries but these are generally commensurate with your experience and skill. The bottom line is that if it seems to good to be true, it most likely is.

Learning how to recognize a scam can save you time and a lot of hassle…not to mention effort and money. Make sure potential job offers pass the “smell” test and trust your gut. If it feels off, move on the the next posting.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)