Don’t “Fall” For Job Scams

Hi Everyone,

Melissa Varischetti here, owner and founder at 

It’s September, and at least in my part of the country (Western PA) the weather has finally decided it’s not summer anymore and it’s time for those cool nights, foggy mornings, and (almost) changing leaves, not to mention all things pumpkin and those wonderful Halloween decorations. If you didn’t know, Halloween is my favorite holiday and I always get excited the closer we get to October. Nothing quite like a good scary movie and a handful of candy corn, amiright! 

Speaking of scary stuff, that brings me to this month’s blog post, which unfortunately is a hot topic these days – don’t fall for scam jobs. 

While the concept of too-good-to-be-true jobs has been around about as long as there’ve been people working, the scam job industry has taken off since the internet age and now there are over 6,000 fraudulent jobs reported to the FTC each month, most from legitimate job-search sites like LinkedIn and Indeed. That linked article from the LA Times lays out a few first-hand accounts of folks who fell for job scams, and it’s definitely worth a read. I just wanted to take a few minutes and add to that article, sharing two quick tips for how to avoid falling for a job scam. 

  1. ALWAYS call the company to verify who you’re speaking with. 

This may seem obvious, but in today’s age of instant messaging, one-way interviews, texting, and email, you can progress through pretty much all stages of the job application process without actually speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager. Just because someone has a convincing LinkedIn profile or even an email with the company URL after the “@” does not mean it’s actually that person. Sadly, hackers are only getting better, and spoofing company credentials happens quite frequently. 

The best thing to do is find the company website and find a number to connect with a real person who can verify if the job is legitimate. If the company doesn’t have a website, I would consider that a red flag. If they post a job online but don’t have a website for their company, something’s fishy in my book. 

If you’re having trouble finding a website, try to track down an address for the company and at least look them up on Google Maps. If the job purports to be a tech job based in San Francisco but the company address pulls up as the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge, we have a problem. 

Worst case scenario, ask the person you’re speaking with digitally for the best number to call them. If they don’t respond, don’t bother applying to the job. If they do respond and you get them on the phone, ask some probing questions to ensure the job is legitimate. Again, if the job’s not a scam the recruiter will have no problem answering your questions and hopping on the phone, but if there is something fishy going on, there will be a lot of hesitation and non-answers. 

This brings me to my last tip to avoid scam jobs (and honestly this is a tip for most of life) – 

  1. If the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

$300k annually with unlimited PTO and fully remote as a data entry specialist working 15 hours per week? Probably a scam. Assistant to the CEO of Pfizer but based in Kansas City MO and making $25k per year? Probably a scam. 

Just like with most things in life, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let your excitement for the next big thing get the better of your common sense. And don’t be afraid to push back with the person you’re talking to and make sure the job’s legitimate. 

It can be easy to see a job posting (especially when you’re desperate for a new job) and immediately throw caution to the wind, shoot for the stars, and give it everything you’ve got. But don’t get sucked in to scam jobs, and absolutely DO NOT provide personal and confidential info (especially your bank account information) unless you are 100% certain that the job’s not a scam. 

I would also encourage you to bookmark this article from the Federal Trade Commission that talks about some common scam jobs, as well as ways to report scams. It’s always a good thing to know where to go if something goes sideways!

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you don’t fall for any job scams. 

If you have any other tips and tricks for avoiding fake jobs, let me know in the comments below or on any of our social media channels. 

Until next time,