8 Tips for Avoiding Job Scams

Katy Montgomery

Katy currently serves as the Global Director of the Career Development Centre at INSEAD where she manages career services professionals across three campuses: Abu Dhabi, Fontainebleau, and Singapore. Katy previously served as the Associate Dean for Student Development at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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As good business students, you are probably currently searching for a summer, academic, or post-graduation employment opportunity. Although most job postings are legitimate and most employers behave ethically online, you must be aware that there are a number of scammers posing as employers on internship and job-related websites. These scammers use employment opportunities to lure applicants and ask for confidential information such as date of birth, social security number, and banking account number (including routing number). After procuring this information, scammers gain access to your financial accounts or steal your identity. Another common scam is to ask you to purchase a piece of software or training manual at a high price to prepare for the job or even the interview. When you provide a credit card number to cover the costs of these materials, your account is charged and the “employer” disappears or may even use your credit card information to make additional fraudulent purchases.

You should always trust your gut when job searching—if something doesn’t feel right you should ask follow-up questions of the employer or connect with a CDO staff member and get an opinion. Also, you should be extra vigilant when reviewing job postings on a job site that does not regulate job postings and/or practice any due diligence in vetting employers before they are allowed to share a job posting.

Here are eight tips to keep in mind:

  1. In most cases personal information such as your home address or phone number are not required unless you are completing a job application or an offer letter is being sent. When calling about a job, just provide cell phone numbers.
  2. Do not send money for a job or job search.
  3. Do not provide your Social Security number (SSN) unless a job has been offered in writing.
  4. Beware of requests to “scan the ID” of a job seeker, for example, a drivers’ license.
  5. Watch for mismatches in company and contact domain names. For example, a job posting from a Google contact should only have an email address @google.com. If the contact had a @yahoo.com address and not @google.com, more research may be required to validate the position.
  6. Check the company’s website to validate open positions.
  7. Beware of offered money or funding prior to the start of the job or receipt of an unexpectedly large check or payment. If a signing bonus is offered, the terms of the bonus should be given in an offer letter prior to receiving payment.
  8. Never provide any bank account information during a job search. The only valid time you should provide bank account information is if you have accepted a job and want to set up direct deposit for your paychecks.

Stay safe and good luck job searching!

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