Even though the global pandemic has prompted some companies to allow employees to work from home, it’s not a new concept. Working from home was – and continues to be – a way for many people to earn money.

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But that does not mean that every remote control or the online job posting is legitimate. Some are outright scams, perpetrated by people who want to access your personal information or trick you into spending money.

When you review job postings and job postings online, here are some warning signs to look for to avoid getting scammed.

Last updated: August 19, 2021

Brothers91 / Getty Images

Brothers91 / Getty Images

Job postings or emails are full of errors

Legitimate businesses send correspondence from work email addresses, not personal email accounts. When a job posting comes from what appears to be a personal address, like a Gmail account, consider it a red flag.

An email with multiple grammatical errors or misspelled words is also a sign that someone is trying to rip you off. These types of mistakes can mean that the scammer is just plain reckless. However, this could be a strategy to weed out all but the most gullible recipients, making them better targets for scamming.

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aluxum / Getty Images

aluxum / Getty Images

Job description and requirements are vague

If you regularly check job postings, you’ll likely notice that they almost always include specific details about the duties, hours, and requirements of the job being offered. Salary and benefits can also be indicated.

Job postings that could lead to a financial scam include those that are vague and contain very few details. After you respond to this type of ad, you may receive an email. Note if the email appears generic as well, such as not having your name in the greeting line. If so, this is probably a one-size-fits-all response to anyone responding to the scam.

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Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

What you thought was a job opportunity wasn’t

You are applying or registering online for what you think is a job opportunity. Then you get a response offering you membership in a jobs database or some sort of career service, such as counseling, for a fee.

While there may well be a product or membership that you can purchase, advertising a job to get your contact information – and your money – is a scam.

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Alihan Usullu / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Alihan Usullu / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Upfront expenses are required to access the opportunity

People who are desperate for a job online are vulnerable to scammers. A scammer can ask job seekers to pay for training or certification to be eligible for an attractive job offer.

If you send money, you might get something back, but it won’t be a job. A legitimate job posting will not require you to pay to apply.

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diego_cervo / Getty Images / iStockphoto

diego_cervo / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Interviews take place on messaging platforms

An online job interview through online interview platforms like Spark Hire or HireFunnel is what you expect from a legitimate business. But if you are offered an interview on messaging services like Google Hangouts or Yahoo Messenger, beware.

Scammers use these platforms to “interview” you for a job. Then, before the interview is over, they offer you the job and ask you for personal information, such as your social security number or bank account number, in order to set up direct deposit for your next paychecks.

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Ridofranz / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Ridofranz / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Work seems too good to be true

In most cases, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The same goes for job descriptions that offer easy work for great pay without any training. If you see this kind of advertising, the alarm bells should ring in your head.

If you think this could be a legitimate job opportunity, do some research online to find out if it is a scam. Check the declared salary for the job on a site like PayScale or Glassdoor. If the compensation is much less than what is offered to you, it is probably a scam.

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Yuricazac / Shutterstock.com

Yuricazac / Shutterstock.com

The company’s online presence does not exist or is minimal

When a company offers a job that interests you, it can pay off to research its track record. Search their website and see if it looks professional and informative or if it is basic and vague. Check all social media accounts to see if there are any followers and evidence of company events and real people working there.

Also go to LinkedIn and search for the company name. If it’s legitimate, there will be a link on the company page to direct you to employee profiles of real people who actually work there.

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Doucefleur / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Doucefleur / Getty Images / iStockphoto

A sense of urgency to hire

If you see an ad for a business that is hiring immediately or has a same-day hiring process, be on your guard. Additionally, if a representative contacts you immediately after your application and tells you that the company is looking to fill the position that day or week, politely ask why. According to a recent Indeed survey, only 4% of job applicants receive a response from a company on the same day they apply.

Plus, no matter how fast a business wants to hire you, a legitimate hiring process always takes time.

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GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com

GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com

The web address is slightly changed

If you see a job posting that appears to be from a well-known company that offers jobs online, put on your detective hat. If you click on the link, you might be taken to a site that looks legitimate, but take a look at the web address carefully. Look for a subtle change in the address, such as an additional letter, dash, or period.

Scammers often recreate a well-known website, using a slightly altered website address to attract unsuspecting job seekers.

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Starflamedia / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Starflamedia / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Personal details are requested in advance

While it’s not illegal for a business to ask for your Social Security number on a job application, you don’t need to provide it at this point. Only after you were offered a job would it be necessary for the company to have the number to hire documents.

Also beware of a job application that asks for your date of birth, as well as answers to random questions, such as those you would use to secure a password. It could be an attempt to steal your identity or access your accounts. Here are a few examples: What is your mother’s maiden name? Who was your first employer? What was the name of your first pet?

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 warning signs that online job posting is a financial scam



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