Beware of online job scams

Hamid Qureshi
October 11, 2017 OPINION 564 Views

There is no doubt that thousands of genuine job opportunities are posted online every day, however jobseekers need to be vigilant about fake jobs that are randomly created by fraudsters and cyber criminals. Kashmir has been a soft target for these cyber criminals and online fraudsters due to higher rate of unemployment. For a job seeker who is already perplexed, it is really difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what’s a scam in the first go. Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated and coming up with new ways to take advantage of job seekers all the time.

There are plenty of reports where job seekers receive multiple e-mails from job scammers. These fraudsters extract online information in a variety of ways, e.g. they pull out basic information from social media sites, send random e-mails, text messages and post bogus job advertisement on internet. Scammers have several criminal intentions, depending on the scam; they usually collect confidential information to use for identity theft, to cash fraudulent cheques, obtain money illegally from people who are actively looking for jobs, or to transfer or sometimes send money, and to get you to pay for services or supplies as well.

Below are some important red flags or warning signs of these types of scams and ways to avoid them.

1.If someone is posing as a recruiter of a company and then candidate is offered a job without an application, interview process, or detailed discussion with the employer, for sure this is a scam. Legitimate employers take their time to sort through applications to find the best candidates. Fraudulent jobs are just looking for the personal information and easy money, not the skills, which is why they respond immediately. Generally all the legitimate employers will provide a good description of the job responsibilities and duties to see if candidates are a good fit for the position. No company will offer you the job in just few minutes.

2.In case candidates are asked to pay for training while on employment or transfer money online for expenses such as uniform, documentation etc, or position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by cheque, credit card, then this is classic example of job scam. No Legitimate employer asks for an initial investment or any kind of deposit for documentation or any other purpose. Legitimate third party recruiters and job consultants get paid by the employers for whom they place candidates and not from the candidates.

3.Many times candidates are asked to provide personal information like Aadhaar card number, PAN card or driver’s license number on phone. Legitimate recruiters will not ask for this kind of information on phone. Disclosing this personal information leads to identity theft and puts the candidate on high risk of cyber criminal activities and related issues.

4.Fraudsters make the job postings appear to be from a reputable, familiar company however the domain in the contact’s email address does not match the domain used by the actual company. The email should always come from an official email address that reflects the company’s domain. Employer email addresses from free domains such as Gmail, Yahoo, hotmail, outlook, live etc., suggest the employer does not have an official company domain and there are higher chances that this sender may not be a legitimate company representative and definitely candidates are required to verify these e-mail IDs thoroughly.

5.If the company website is mentioned in the job advertisement and this website is not active, does not exist, or redirects to another website unaffiliated with the named company, then it is a fake one.

6.If the job advertisement or job posting ignores to mention what the actual job responsibilities and related skill sets required and instead, the description focuses on the salary, perks and amount of money to be made, then there are very high chances that this job is not real.

7.Candidates must take caution if it is difficult to find the address, actual contact information, the company name, a landline and fax number. All the registered and reputed companies have a physical location and it is a fact that every reputed company wants to be reachable for its clients, potential employees, and vendors and so forth, hence the address and contact details are clearly mentioned, however the fake ones try to maintain anonymity to save themselves.

8.It has also been observed that fraudulent e-mails are often badly written, devoid of grammar and sometimes full of spelling mistakes; they use basic words and generally seem incoherent when someone reads them. In addition to this the job description doesn’t always make sense and is too fuzzy. Scammers often try to daze candidates with words that suggest a senior position, the actual job title might sound either meaningless or look completely made up. Fake job posts usually tend to put whole sentences in capital letters and use a lot of exclamation marks to attract quick attention.

9.Jobseekers must reject job postings or e-mails that say that no education, experience or expertise is required. All legitimate jobs have some sort of job description that includes information about basic education, skills, and experience required to qualify for the position.
10.It is highly recommended that job-seekers should do a primary research about the company first by internet search engines and confirm the employer’s phone number, fax number and/or email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual company this is a red flag, a fake job or simply a scam.

Author has Double Masters in Science & Management; he currently heads Talent Management & Technology Operations for ADC in North America and Asia Pacific.

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