Sadly scammers are on the increase, with more and more fictitious jobs appearing on job boards, and more and more unsuspecting job seekers being conned into parting with their hard earned money, or becoming victims of identity theft.

What is a job scam? A job scam occurs when a scammer poses as an employer or recruiter, and offers attractive employment opportunities which require that the job seeker pay money in advance. This is usually under the guise of work visas, travel expenses or background and or credit checks that are required for the job. Once the money has been paid over the scammer disappears, and the job seeker is left with no job, and out of pocket.

Whatever the scammer’s technique is and how they go about their modus operandi, their goal is always the same. To separate you from your cash, or to obtain your confidential personal information, that can be used in identity theft.

The problem is, that scammers are becoming more and more crafty in the way they operate, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to know what is a scam and what is a legitimate job opening.

It also appears that more and more often, the scammers are targeting job seekers from overseas, such as hopeful immigrants or contractors, where they use the lure of huge salaries, work permits and paid travel as ways of enticing the job seeker to part with their money.

So how do you recognize a job scam, and what signs should you look out for?

  1. Never part with your money. The golden rule is, any job offer that requires that you pay a fee in advance, is probably a scam. Most reputable companies will absorb these costs themselves. Another warning sign, is if the recruiter offers to train you for the job, in return for money. NEVER pay money across ever. No legitimate company or recruiter will ask for money upfront. Not for anything.
  2. Do some research on the company. Visit the company’s website. If they do not have one, or it does not have contact details, then you need to tread cautiously. If there is a company website, compare the contact numbers, email addresses etc., to what would appear when doing a Google on the company or in a company directory.
  3. Free email accounts. Any recruiter or company that corresponds from a free email account such as Yahoo, Live, Hotmail or Gmail is very likely a scammer. Legitimate job related emails will come from corporate email accounts.
  4. Do a Google search on the company. Do a search on the company name and see what information you can find. Compare it to the information that you have been sent.
  5. Check scam lists. Always check with organisations such as Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to see if the company has been reported as a scammer.
  6. Offers without interviews. Always remember that reputable companies are not going to offer you a role without interviewing your first. Flattering as it may seem that they were so impressed with your resume, that they have offered you a position without meeting you first, the reality is, that you are probably being scammed if this happens. Never, ever accept a job offer that has come through via email, when you have never had a telephonic or face-to-face interview.
  7. Work from home. If this appears in the job title, the chances are very real that it is a scam. The chances of making money in your pajamas may sound enticing, and the idea of making a lot of money whilst being able to work from home is just too good to pass for many gullible job seekers, and because of this, it is a favorite with scammers. Unsuspecting job seekers have been falling for this type of scam for years now.
  8. Receiving offers for jobs you did not apply for. If you receive an offer in your inbox for a job that you have not even applied for, and it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true.
  9. Salaries that are way over what you would normally earn. Getting paid a really high salary is not the norm for all job seekers. Any legitimate employer will evaluate your skill set and experience, before deciding on what you are worth. If the company offers you a salary that is completely out of your range, and experience, you are probably in the process of being scammed.
  10. Don’t hand out personal information. Never part with your social security number or personal information. By divulging this information, you may just be setting the scene for the scammer to pose as you to apply for credit cards, and run up massive bills in your name and ruin your credit record. The only time you should be handing over personal information such as social security numbers, is after you have been hired and are setting up payment and tax information.
  11. Be cautious of emails with grammatical and spelling mistakes. Most online fraud is carried out by scammers outside of the United States, with English often not being their home language, so check the grammar and spelling carefully when communicating.
  12. Fake URLs (websites). Scammers often use fake URLs to mask themselves as large well known corporates. Double check the URL, or the web address of the company. You may think that you are on a well-known company’s website, when you are actually on a bogus website. So always check the URL first.
  13. Vague sketchy job descriptions. If you read the job description and at the end of it, you are not really sure what the job actually entails, or if the role states that there is no specific skill necessary for the job, you are probably about to be scammed. The majority of jobs will require at least some experience or qualification.

The consequences of falling prey to scammers, can include identity theft, the loss of your hard earned money, and illegal charges to your credit card. It can be a very hard lesson to have to learn, and devastating for already cash strapped job seekers. Don’t learn the hard way. Before falling prey to unscrupulous scammers, do your homework and checks very carefully.



About Susan Kihn

Susan Kihn is a Mining Talent Expert at CareerMine. She has over 20 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, having worked for major companies in South Africa where she also ran her own successful recruitment business for many years.

19 Responses to “How to determine if a job offer is a scam”

  1. Tshephang

    Thanks for tips, cause i never thought of such like i did paid several jobs before but currently i’m not working.

  2. Susan Kihn

    Hi Tony

    Thanks for the feedback. Scamming is a real problem world wide. Recruiters should never ask for money in order to find you a job, if they do the chances are the job does not exist and you will be left with no job and less money. Thank you for the warning! Regards. Susan

  3. Toby Minhas

    I think other web site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and great user genial style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  4. Kadiam Bharani

    i got mail from two different companies for various job oppurtunities in the concerned organisations. They sent me application forms and interview forms. they also told me that if you got selected in our organisation company will send you air tickets but you have to take care of visa fees. please suggest me how to detect whether the offer is real or fake.

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Kadiam. Thank you for the response. Firstly the minute a company asks for money for anything during the interviewing process you need to be careful. It is highly unlikely that a legitimate company will ask for money for anything including visas. I would suggest that you do some research on the company, including doing a google on the company and the contact details and then contact the company and ensure that they exist and are who they say they are, and are not scammers “posing” as a company before you ever consider handing any money over for anything. Another thing to keep in mind is that it is highly unlikely that any legitimate company is going to make you a job offer without ever having interviewed you. So it sounds to me as though this position could be a scam. So please be very vigilant before handing any money or personal details over.

  5. rajkumar

    I received a production engineering job from valero energy corporation.first they send me a application form and interview form.and asked me to fill it. After filling and sending they say u r selected for the job in our company and they send a visa form and asked me to fill and asked me to pay a visa registration fee 32400 inr.and other fees will be paid by company.and they gave a contact to Thomas l vadja as a us consular in mumbai.plz check me this is real r to find fake job.

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Rajkumar. I would be very careful of handing over any money for a job. Genuine companies will not ask you to pay for visas etc. You should not be asked for any money ever. I would suggest that you contact the company and ensure that it is not a scam. If you are offered a job without even having been interviewed, you can generally assume that it is a scam. No company will hire somebody without interviewing them first. The best thing to do is to google the company details, ensure they are the same, and phone if possible otherwise email them and check that they are who they say they are. Good luck I hope you come right.

  6. De Waal Havemann

    Then if this site is all legit…why am I being asked to pay $65 to have my CV circulated.

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi De Waal, To post your resume on the site is for free and it will be active on the site and visible to all the recruiters. However if you want to feature your resume, which is optional it means that your resume will appear at the top of the lists of all the resumes, along with the other featured resumes. We will also check it for grammatical errors etc and advise you should we feel changes should be made. It just means more exposure to the recruiters on the site, but as I said this is entirely optional. Regards. Susan.

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi De Waal. We at CareerMine are not actively involved in the recruitment process with any of the recruiters on our site, but rather provide a service for companies to advertise their positions on CareerMine. If you are actively looking for a job in the mining industry, you may register on our website and post your resume. Your resume will then become searchable though our database. This service is for free. However you may also Feature your resume which will ensure that your resume stays close to the top of the list and you will have a better chance of being contacted by a company. It is also highlighted and edited. The cost for 6 months is Can$65.00 (approx. US$65.43)This is however optional, and as I said to post your resume is for free, and it is still visible to the recruiters on the site. Featuring your resume gives you more exposure to the recruiters on the site. It does NOT guarantee your getting a job, but gives you a lot more exposure.

  7. Rocky Johnson

    This is the most valuable bit of information I have read in a long time, when we are desperate to get a job, we will consider anything without taking care not to be scammed. thanks Susan

  8. kmon

    Job. Scammers are many in nigeria due to the level of unemployment in the country, they have offices well furnished if you not smart they will empty your pocket before you know. There was a day I went to interview like that they ask me money for training without telling me what position they training me for, they ask me money I said am not with money they ask me to use my ATM card to withdraw money I use that opportunity to run away from them they even calling me on fone.


    Hai some week back i got a mail about the job and i applied after i i applied they give a application form and interview letter and for my reply they send me a agreement letter now i got appointment letter in zeal warth construction canada they guide me to contact canada embasy in mumbai and i also got call from us regarding these and i googled about the company actually these company exist but they didnt respond for my mail as seen in above case they also inform me that we provide air ticket and other cost you have to take care visa charges that we will return you back after you come to canada even though i have dout but sometime i feel confusion because they conducted all thing in so corporate way so whats your idea

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Sunil. Thank you for the message. I would suggest that you contact the company and ask to speak to their Human Resources department and ensure that they are who they say they are. I would suggest you do some research into the company, do a google search on them, check the contact details they have given you and phone the head office and ensure that all that has been offered is legitimate. The majority of companies will pay for work visas. Another sign to look for, is if they have actually interviewed you. Companies are highly unlikely to offer you a position without having interviewed you first. As soon as a company asks for any money for anything in the recruitment process, you need to be careful and start investigating. Good luck, I hope it all works out for the best.

  10. hope

    hello I applied for a job. I got the add from olx. There repiled me so quickly. sending me the information. what I don’t understand there a saying I must pay R200 for the secretary first kit. and am working from home I well work 4hours for R1000. and I well be trained. The company called Ringale trading in gemiston. The emailed me the form to fill and there information What there do to get money. Please check them for me if it’s not a scammer

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Hope. Thank you for the response. I would be very careful before handing over any money. It is highly unlikely that a genuine company will ever ask for money in exchange for a job. I would do some investigation into the company before paying anymore and ensure that they do exist. We are based in Canada, so difficult to know if the company is genuine or not, but I would investigate carefully first. Good luck.

  11. Tienie Erasmus

    It is a huge problem. Thanks for the tips. I have been seeking alternatve ex-pat employment for almost a year and all the replies I got was fake. And I register with well known sites! These days 8/10 times it will be a scam. That is my experience anyway.


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