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How to Spot a Job Scam Before You’re Tricked?

Many people are looking for a job, but there are also many scams out there. It is important to be aware of these scams so that you do not waste your time or money. There are a few things to look for when you are searching for a job, including being suspicious of any job that requires payment or seems too good to be true. Students can be particularly vulnerable to scam job offers because they may be desperate, inexperienced, and have less money.

One victim’s recent real-life experience is described here:

The victim was scammed by being promised a job interview with Splunk, a software company that specializes in data analysis. The individual was promised company funds to buy an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and important productivity software, but was first instructed to link the company’s banking account information to her personal card. She did as she was told, shipping the items she had purchased to what she believed was the future employer’s address. This was allegedly required to ensure that company branding would be applied and that the most up-to-date software could be installed for security purposes.

The young woman felt increasingly uneasy about the situation, so she consulted with friends and family and then reached out to an HR employee at Splunk for help in confirming her suspicion that the whole operation might be a scam. After realizing she had been scammed, the target victim skillfully canceled her shipment, froze her credit card, and reported the identity theft incident to the authorities.

Of course, there are several red flags to her story, many of which she admits are easier for her to see after the fact. Most disconcerting was the fact that she received the initial job solicitation -- and become an elaborate crime target -- through her school email.

So what are some useful tips to avoid falling for a fake job scam?

1. Be wary of any job that asks for money upfront.

Jobs or ads whose recruitment processes ask for money upfront are very likely typical scams. No legitimate company or recruiter will ever ask for money to apply for a job or to secure an interview.

2. Avoid giving away personal information such as your social insurance number or bank account information.

This is one of the most common and dangerous red flags to be on the lookout for. Giving away this information can be used by scammers for identity theft or other fraudulent activities. Remember that it is very important to protect yourself from job scams. These are becoming more common, so be careful when looking for a job.

3. Do your research on the company before applying or accepting any job offer.

This includes looking at details beyond the company itself. Make sure that the company’s website, email addresses, and web portals you are using are spelled correctly. In particular, make sure these sites don’t have unofficial variants or odd words. When looking for a job, it’s important to know what other people have experienced when working with the company. You can do this by reading reviews of the company online. If you are contacted by someone from the company, make sure to verify their identity before providing any personal information or scheduling an interview.

4. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Most job offers that promise a lot of money for very little work are scams. Scammers often try to play on people’s emotions, such as their vulnerability or eagerness, to get them to go along with unsafe or dubious practices.

5. Trust your gut instinct – if something feels off about a job or company, it’s probably best to steer clear.

When looking at a job posting, be careful if it is vague about the duties or requirements of the position. Another thing to watch out for is if the company name is not listed, or you are unable to find information about the company online. All of these could be signs that the job might not be legitimate.

It can be tricky to stay both professional and skeptical while job hunting. But by being careful, you can explore job opportunities without worrying about being scammed.

And for those of you reading this and currently searching for a job, best of luck, and stay alert.

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