As many job seekers have noticed, employment scams (or job scams) have become more common in recent years. In 2022, the Edmonton Police Service alone received 148 reports of employment scams with a total financial loss of $359,831.
These scammers typically use legitimate job boards (Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.) to post fake jobs or to contact job seekers, and use the hiring process as an opportunity to maliciously obtain personal information and/or money. Job boards and social media sites are aware of these scams and work to identify and remove fraudulent postings, however new ones appear all the time, so it is important to be vigilant.
How to Recognize Employment Scams
Here are some flags that could indicate that a job offer is potentially a scam:
- The offer sounds too good to be true (for example, the salary is significantly higher than comparable jobs)
- You receive an offer for a job that you haven’t applied or interviewed for
- They request unnecessary personal details or financial information upfront
- They ask for some form of payment in order to get the job
- The job posting is not posted on the real company’s website (if you are suspicious about a job posting, you can always call the real company directly to check if the post is legitimate)
- They call you frequently and aggressively, attempting to pressure you to make a decision
- The messages you receive aren’t coming from a company email account (i.e. they are sending from a free email domain like Gmail or Hotmail, or an app such as WhatsApp or Telegram)
- The messages they send have frequent spelling/grammar mistakes or the contact information is inconsistent
- There is no interview at all, or the interview is conducted through an app such as WhatsApp or Telegram
- You are asked to purchase equipment and be reimbursed later, or you are asked to deposit money into your personal bank account and transfer it to someone
How to Avoid Employment Scams
In this article about job scams, Indeed has 5 suggestions to help avoid employment scams:
- Do your research
- Verify the website’s security
- Trust your instincts
- Do not give personal account information
- Look online for complaints or reviews
What to Do If You’re the Victim of a Scam
Remember, it’s possible for anyone to be a victim of an employment scam—these scammers and fake job postings can be very convincing. If you are a victim, you should not feel ashamed, and it is important to speak to the appropriate resources and authorities.
For Canadians who are a victim of job scams:
- Contact your bank / financial institution
- Report it to your local police
- Report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) – you can report scammers here even if you did not actually lose any money; it helps law enforcement investigate cybercrime
- Optional: Let the real company know that a scammer is impersonating them – that way they may be able to take additional action and help protect other candidates who may become victims
The following links provide more details about different employment scams you may encounter, how to recognize them and what to do if you or someone you know are a victim:
- Government of Canada – Job & Employment Scams
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – Job Scams
- Indeed – Different Types of Job Scams and How to Avoid Them
- Edmonton Police Service – Job Scams
- University of Calgary – Identifying Job Scams [VIDEO]
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