Red Flags that Identify Scams and Learning How to Protect Yourself

Anyone who is looking for work these days knows how hard it is to get passed the resume pile and into the pile of I-want-to-bring-this-person-in-for-an-interview. It’s no secret that many people are out of work, have lost jobs due to cut backs and some even have to work several part-time jobs just to make ends meet. That’s where the scams and shams and schemers come into the picture—like vultures scavenging for carrion.

Most online job centers have strict guidelines against illegitimate job postings. However, scams do slip through the cracks and get posted. This can be extremely frustrating for someone who is trying to find legitimate work. You need to wade through the muck and mire of all these ads—and waste valuable time—just to find a few good apples in the bunch.

Red Flags that Identify Scams

  • Unprofessional Presentation – if the advertisement or email correspondence has spelling mistakes and appears unprofessional in nature, that’s a clear sign to avoid this “opportunity.”
  • Substandard Advertising – every business has a varying advertising budget; however, if the advertising appears “cheesy” or gaudy, it usually is a scam.
  • Zero Online Presence – most businesses have some online presence these days. If you cannot find this business anywhere on the Internet, that’s a red flag.
  • No Interview – if you’re offered the job without even going in for an interview, you know the position is not legitimate.
  • Exorbitant Pay – don’t be fooled by offers of a high salary with no experience necessary for the position. In the legitimate job world, salary is commensurate with experience.  
  • Payment Upfront – when a business asks you for an initial investment of funds to begin working for them that is another sign it’s a bogus job opportunity. A legitimate business will pay you and you should never pay a business to work for them. (One caveat: you find a legitimate business opportunity that requires a small start-up cost.) Yet, any position called a “job” does not require you to invest money.

 Steps to Defend Against These Scams

  • Do your due diligence and thoroughly investigate the supposed business opportunity or employer.
  • Never pay money upfront for someone who wants you to work for them—unless you are knowingly investing into an actual legitimate business opportunity.  
  • Don’t give out your personal information, like your social security number or bank account or anything else of similar nature.
  • Check out the business on the Better Business Bureau and see if you can find any legitimate online reviews for the business or if any complaints have been filed against them.
  • If you are looking to work for a business or an entrepreneur as a virtual assistant from home, don’t be afraid to check out and verify this entity or person. Go to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for your state or whatever state this business or entrepreneur is located in and see if any complaints have been filed against them.  

Always be on your guard and do your due diligence to protect yourself. Don’t give up. There are legitimate job opportunities out there. You simply have to take more time to search them out and don’t allow yourself to be fooled by any scams.


Photo Credit:  Anisha (Scam Watch)




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