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How To Identify And Avoid Job Scams

Category: Applying For Jobs


In today's economy, many people are almost to the point of desperation to find a job and when a promising job offer seems to appear in their lap, it may be tempting to follow through. Today, it is also common to work from home. It is important to be careful while looking for a job. While there may be a legitimate business looking to hire you, there are a few clear steps to detect a job scam.

Red Flag 1: No Business Name or Contact Address:
Please note, no legitimate firm will advertise for jobs without stating boldly their name, brand identity and physical contact address. Also, no legitimate firm will ask you to send your resume to the advertiser through a P.O. Box, P.M.B or public e-mail addresses (hot mail or g-mail or yahoo mail). This is a serious red flag signaling that it is scam. It is either that the firm is a mushroom company operating in a residential flat or it is an outright scam. In both cases, you just have to be at alert. Firms do not hide their name or addresses rather they use the job adverts to advertise their company, offering you link to their website and providing information on their products and services.

Red Flag 2: Duplicate Website or Similar Domain Name:
A typical trick employed by scammers these days is duplicating websites of known companies and registering domain names similar to those of these companies. Domain name is the web address of a website e.g. is the domain name of Globacom- a major telecommunication firm. If scammers want to use the for scam, they will register a similar domain name like and host a duplicate website. This action is aimed at making job seekers believe that they are viewing the websites of the authentic firms therefore believing the job scam.

The scammers will demand your personal details and sometimes even demand for financial details like ATM card number and PIN. Always beware when a job demands your personal and financial details.

Being more analytical will help you observe that the domain names used in registering the sites differ from that of the domain names of the authentic firms. A good practice is to always search the internet for the name of the firm to observe the real domain name of the authentic company. Web search will reveal the domain name of the authentic company since it will rank higher in search engine index.

Red Flag 3: Several Positions:
You may have seen job adverts in the internet or pages of newspapers containing several positions cutting across many disciplines, this is likely a scam. The advert is aimed at getting as many candidates as they can to defraud. Companies only engage in massive recruitment when they are starting operations, expanding or starting a new project. But this is often times rare and mostly embarked on by big corporations.

So when you see advert for massive recruitment, be careful.  You just have to look for other red flags listed here to confirm that it is a job scam.

Red Flag 4:  Be beware of the "too good to be true" offers:
Many offers seem legitimate and even have professional looking websites; they offer mouth-watering remuneration, vacation packages and even easy recruitment process. But, put on your thinking cap and remember the old adage, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

These jobs are right on the cusp of reality and fantasy, to make it sound more realistic. They may not offer a N1, 000,000 a year salary, but may make the offer sound like it is coming from a legitimate business. The recruitment process is often simple and may not require any form of aptitude test or interview. If you can get this job without passing through any process, be suspicious!

Red Flag 5:  Don't hand over money: 
No legitimate business is going to ask for money in order to hire you. There are all sorts of ways a job scam will ask for money - wire it, put it into a certain account, ATM card number and PIN, bogus checks, etc. Another subtle way is that they may delibrately inform candidates that they failed to provide some requirements, then go ahead to demand money for them to provide these requirements. These requirements can be passport photograph that must be provided in a confusing and difficult picture format or a non-existing certification. They might even offer you employment but demand that you pay for full or part of the training before you resume work in the company.

Scammers collect data of applicants that applied in their fake adverts and store them in their database. This information is used by their agents to search for the applicants. These agents try to convince the applicants that they have the link that can get the job for them in the firm; thereby asking them to pay some amount of money to their services.

You may have even seen the e-mails that ask to send money to an offshore account. This is a huge red flag they may seem obvious to most people. But, desperate times may make this offer seem more tempting because of the benefits and pay that is offered in return. Hang on to your cash!!

Red Flag 6:  Beware of e-mails offering you a job:
If you did not apply for a job and a job is being offered, it is probably a job scam. If a random e-mail appears in your inbox offering you a job, be sure to check it out. Following some of the guidelines from steps one and two, this is likely a scam; especially if it is an overseas company.

To detect if the email is a scam check out for the red flags such as transferring money, giving out your bank details, having a link to a duplicate website, not being specific or too good to be true jobs that offer great rewards with you putting in the minimal effort etc. These red flags have been discussed in different subtitles.

Red Flag 7:  Look out for work from home scams:
There are legitimate works from home jobs that are available. However, if they are asking for money, telling you that you will get rich, don't require an application or resume, or require you to complete a training program or seminar that costs money, it is a job scam.

Work-at-home scams have always been around. They offer you a supposedly easy way to make loads of money in just a little time from the privacy of your own home, but they rarely ever turn out to be what they claim to be e.g engaging robot to manage your trade in forex, trading oil and gas or even making money for viewing a website.


This scam thrives due to peoples desire to get rich quick and finds seminars, workshop and training programs as an avenue to dupe their victims. You need to be a smart and ask yourself this question; if this idea is right, why are they exposing it, are they not interested in making money too? If anything says you must pay for information or supplies to get started, my advice is to run away fast. 

Follw the old adage "If someone talks of easy money then the easy money is probable the money you are holding". 

Red Flag 8:  Check out other resources:  Don't be in a rush to apply. People will always say that there is no harm in apllying for jobs but there is because you can give out your personal details in a job application. If it does not seem to be on the up and up, check out other websites.  Also, go to the websites of the company offering the job (NOT using the link in the e-mail or flyer) and poke around. Just do a Google search and see what pops up on the company. Web search will reveal the domain name of the authentic company.

Red Flag 9:  Protect privacy information:
Beware of companies asking for copies of important documents like your International Passport, National Identity Card, or anything with your social security number like National Health Insurance Scheme before you meet them in person.

Job seekers get carried away by the good working conditions been offered. Online forms are the perfect place for an identity thief to steal your personal information. These forms usually request private information such as driver’s license number and Social Security Numbers. If you’re filling out an application online (or even if you’re just sending a resume online) be certain you’re on a legitimate web site and that the site is secure. If you’re not sure of that, find out if the information can be sent directly to the company.Never give out credit/debit card numbers, bank accounts, social security number, etc. until you are confident that it is a legitimate business after checking out for other red flags.

Red Flag 10:  Look for other red flags:
Other red flags it may be a job scam includes: grammatical or spelling errors in job ads, e-mails that use a web-based address (yahoo, hotmail, etc) and not a legitimate company e-mail, requests for scans of important documents, or no experience or application required.