How to Spot a Work at Home Recruitment Scam

in blogtober •  9 months ago  (edited)

We’re closing in on 2020, and you need to know: check-cashing scams haven’t gone away. If anything, they’ve become an even bigger problem, morphing in intricacy and adapting as quickly as the digital era evolves. And work at home job seekers appear to be an especially hot target.

Recently I’ve come across these scammers working their slimy magic on eager and unsuspecting job hopefuls. Faceless keyboard villains prey on aspiring remote workers vying for nonexistent entry-level jobs. Worse, I’ve got a hunch that those who fall victim are those who can least afford the cost of being tricked.


Heads up! This post is syndicated from my personal blog, Aspire to Wander. You can read the original article here: How to Spot a Work at Home Recruitment Scam


The company I’m with is fully remote and distributed, and I work with colleagues who live across five different timezones. By all accounts, this type of asynchronously synchronous work environment is growing in popularity. Working from home isn’t just a dream situation. It is increasingly the norm across a wide range of disciplines— you no longer need to be a dev or a writer on assignment to work from your living room floor.

The outreach comes in waves, and when it does, we see emails from hopeful applicants who, too late into the process, are crossing their Ts and dotting their Is. Unfortunately, our response has only ever been, “I’m so sorry, but that’s not a role we’re currently hiring for, and we don’t have any employees by the name of [Insert the fake recruiter’s name here].” Because the interviews they’re following up after weren’t with us, and the jobs they interviewed for do not exist.

Despite advancements in security, availability of resources, and increased regulations, the fact remains that in many ways, the internet is still a lawless place. You can protect yourself from one such danger, the work at home recruitment scam if you know what to look for.

In many ways, this photo is a scam, because my desk only looks this neat and clutter-free like, one day out of the year.


How to Spot a Hiring Scam Online

Here are the top five telltale signs that the job offer you received is a scam with a capital S.

You received an email from a recruiter or Human Resources rep, and the message came from a free email address.

Trust me— that attractive job offer from that super-cool startup is not going to be coming from a Gmail, Hotmail, or (don’t make me laugh) Yahoo email address. Double-check to make sure the sender email address comes from the official company domain. But scammers are clever, so make sure that when you hit reply, the only email addresses that pop up in your “To” field belong to the same domain name.

The messages you receive contain obvious typos and language that is inconsistent with the vernacular used where the company is located.

This seems like it’d be an easy one to spot, but after seeing some of the emails that were sent to victims, I guess I was wrong. If you read through an email and your gut tells you, “Hey, this seems like all sorts of wrong. Who talks like this, and WTF is with these typos?!”— Listen to your gut.

You don’t remember applying for the job.

Some victims replied to a fake job listing, but others were contacted after the scammers scraped their info from a resumé uploaded to one of the big box job listing sites. Don’t remember applying? That’s because you probably didn’t.

Your online interview took place over email or text chat only.

With the easy availability of video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype, companies have no reason to forgo a traditional interview experience. If you’ve received a job offer and your only communication with the company has been via email and text chat, congrats, you’ve got yourself a red flag.

Your new employer wants you to cash a check to get you started. You can spend part of it for your equipment and supplies, and you’ll need to send the balance back via Western Union or Game Stop gift cards. (Yup, that’s been a thing.)

Run, don’t walk, and while you’re at it, report the info you have to the appropriate government agency in your jurisdiction. If you’re instructed to deposit a check for your startup costs, honey, what you’ve been offered is straight-up fake news. Cash that scam check, and you’ll be on the hook for any returned check bank fees associated with the inevitable bounce in addition to the amount you withdraw against the deposited amount.


So where can you find a real job working from home?

All that said, yes, you can find a legitimate work at home job, and easily, if you know where to look. Here are a few resources I recommend, including some sites that we have used ourselves in our real and actual recruitment efforts:

Just starting your search and looking for entry-level? Start here

Entry-level roles can be found on these remote-focused job boards, but many, if not most of the listed positions, require at least some experience or expertise.

Stay safe out there, job seekers!

P.S. – Do your due diligence, trust your gut, and ask questions! Need advice? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter. 😉


Blogtober 2019, Day 4

This post is syndicated from my blog, Aspire to Wander. Read the original here.


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I get the impression that I seem to be getting more phishing emails every day - can't imagine what it must be like to have to search for a job online :o

They're all different sides of the same attempt to scam honest people out of money, that's for sure!

Finding a legitimate job working from home or otherwise remotely doesn't have to be scary or daunting as long as you know what to steer clear of, and what red flags to watch out for. :)

This is very informative and helpful, thanks for sharing.

Thanks for reading, @joelai! :)

Most welcome!

It's a sad reality that there is a lot of this out there. I don't personally know anyone that has been conned by this or anything similar...do you?

I like that you put the work links in there. Super helpful and I may have a look at them myself. 😁

I recall when I had recently graduated from college there was this very lucrative sounding job that I had an interview for in Washington DC. I asked a friend about them before I went for the interview which was about 4 hours drive away and it turns out it was a multi-level marketing scheme. I think I would have flipped my top if I had turned up to the interview only to find out it was all a scam. This is before the internet was everything but the point is con artists have always existed.

Oh jeez. Don't even get me started on MLMs! I can clearly see that those at the top of the pyramids do oh-so-well. But their downlines? Not so much. They're sold on the dream that network marketing is easy, fun, or .... ethical. It's usually not any of these things, and even more rarely is it all three at the same time.

No, girl I went to middle school with and haven't spoken to since then, I do not want to join your damn team or buy your (probably) second-rate products. I'll buy my vitamins, essential oils, shakes, and printed leggings at the store without your pushy sales tactics or transparent recruitment attempts, thank you very much. (But I'm probably not buying that stuff at any store, either.)

So as for these specific scams, unfortunately, yes, I have personally seen people affected by this, and more than I care to see. (Damn scammers!)

They usually fall into one of two buckets:

  • People holding onto the dream that the shady offer they received is for real, and looking to us to confirm its validity. In a couple of cases, folks indicated they went so far as to send their personal identification documents to the fakers.
  • People who recognized the scam for what it was, and were giving us a heads up just in case we weren''t already aware that there were scammers out there impersonating our company

If anyone who'd been offered a nonexistent position with our company has fallen for the scam all the way (checks cashed and all), we haven't heard from them. I imagine they're too busy trying to pick up the pieces of a very, very painful lesson to learn, and are possibly too embarrassed or overwhelmed to reach out to us.

This scam is ... prevalent. Unfortunately, there's not much to be done other than to report the issue to the email provider (so Google, etc) as well as the Crime Complaint Center (FBI) / Anti-Fraud Centre (Canada) / your local gov't agency that deals with this stuff.

Oh. What kind of updated techniques are applying by scammers. Dear Job seekers, be cautious. Go through this share, will find way to get rid of the scams of job provider.

Thanks for point out this important topic. Upvoted and resteemed this really important content.

You are most welcome.
Share this kind of informative post which is very much useful to all and life saving. There are a lots of scan here and there in our country Bangladesh. I always try to share / resteem / reblog this kind of status so that as many as can be aware on this kind of issues.

Greta post there are so many scams out there these days its god to have post slike this so people can be more careful

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Hi blogtober, a random person contacted me via email asking permission to add a link into this post based on perhaps it having some seo or search engine ranking. Would you like to talk to them via email. You provide me your email if you want. I don’t know their offer. Some just ask permission, some propose a payment or so but I am not sure. People do contact me like this though about posts on marlians.com


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