There are in today’s world so many online job scams around that it is possible that there are more job scams than real job openings online. To add to the problem is that the scammers are becoming so cunning and crafty that it can also be really hard to tell the difference between what is real and what is fake.

This leaves job seekers totally frustrated and insecure as they have no idea a lot of the time whether they are responding to a real job or being set up for a scam.

In order to be able to give yourself the best chance of identifying a scam before you get burnt, it is important to understand what exactly scammers want to achieve out of a job scam.

This part is very simple,  scammers are after one of two things, your money, or your identify, or possibly even  both.

There are however signs and signals that you can keep an eye open for, that will help warn you when there is a scam on the go.

Online job scam warning signs to look out for:

  • Being offered a job without a formal interview process
  • Being asked to pay for any services in exchange for a job, these services may include visas, flights, training, credit checks etc. Anytime you are ever asked for money at any stage for anything in exchange for a job, you are probably being scammed
  • You are offered a job that you are not qualified for
  • You are asked to cash a cheque and then pay a third party
  • You are asked to wire money to an employer
  • The company asks for your personal information such as social security number, credit card details or your driver’s license number during the interviewing process

What are the most common job scams at present?


  • Advance-fee scams are abundant at present. Scammers in this situation will offer a candidate their dream job, and then charge them for pre-employment checks or services. In this situation the candidate believing they are about to start a new job may be sent to a third party company who will complete the relevant checks or services for which the job seeker will have to pay upfront. These scams are not only popular in terms of getting money out of unsuspecting job seekers, but also for identity theft where they may ask for personal information such as social security numbers, banking details and drivers licenses.
  •  Company cloning of large multinational well-known companies. In these situations scammers will register a domain similar in name to the real company, and then set up an identical website, and then copy legitimate job adverts and lure unsuspecting job seekers to the site often through social media platforms. At this point they will approach the job seeker and offer them a job that does not exist and through this process ask for money in exchange for visas, flights, checks or other supposed services.

Sometimes these scams are so elaborate and well thought out that it is almost impossible not to start becoming entwined in the web of deceit, but if you always remember that no legitimate company is going to ask you to pay for money for ANYTHING, and you withhold your personal information such as social security number and banking details,  then you have your best chance of not being scammed out of your hard earned money or having your identity stolen.


4 Responses to “Too good to be true? The most common job scams”

  1. Edwin Gatia

    is there a Fed agency that runs after scammers even if they operate from outside of the U.S.?

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Edwin. Thanks for reaching out. From what I can see you can still report scams that are operating from outside of the USA. I would suggest that you contact the below and see if they are able to assist:

      International scams – File a complaint about e-commerce (business or trade that takes place on the internet) or travel scams to

      Regards. Susan.

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Christopher. It is difficult to tell, it depends on the cover letter. I always suggest that job seekers be cautious with all jobs,as many of them listed on the internet nowadays are sadly scams. Look for inconsistencies, spelling mistakes, fake website addresses etc. Also keep in mind if the offer sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Always be cautious and tread carefully. Regards. Susan.


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