In 2020, a fake design company called Madbird jobfished more than 50 people causing them to work for up to six months with no pay. The scammers used Covid as the excuse to have people working remotely and only communicate via Zoom and email which saw the scam continue that long. Remote working has become the perfect replacement for the traditional 5 to 9 because of the flexibility it offers. Advertising your job as a remote job offer has also become an additional advantage for employers hoping to attract a certain type of employee. While making your money while at home may sound great, scammers have also taken the opportunity to steal money and information from unsuspecting job seekers. It has become so easier to land a fake job online than it is to land a real one and here are the tips for avoiding the problems that come with these scams.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is
Work is just work, whether you are doing it remotely or in a brick-and-mortar office so no one should lie to you that you can make as much money as you like with very easy work. Most scam jobs online promise that simple tasks such as mystery shopping, designing, stuffing envelopes, data entry or even creating content for higher than normal levels of pay.
One thing you need to remember is that no one mints money out of a vacuum so whoever is employing you also has costs to consider. If anyone promises you an easy flexible job with no clear details as to your job description and structure, then you should be wary. Most scammers are not very serious about your qualifications and previous experience, so if no one wants your referees of a look at your experience, then you should think twice.
Ask the questions
However virtual a job might be, it has to be serving a particular set of clients and that calls for a real company structure. Even the most remote company should have a physical address and you should be working with real people and serving real customers. Make sure that the person offering you the job cares enough to give you a video call and tell you the address of the organization. You should verify that address with the authorities and also conduct thorough research on both the organization and its employees. You shouldn’t accept to work with ghost colleagues however sweet the pay may seem.
Don’t accept checks with “extra funds”
Scammers will tell you that they will send you a check with funds for setting up your home office and even your first salary upfront. Others will actually try to convince you to wire them money by sending you a cheque with lots of extra cash claiming that the extra amount is a mistake and that you should wire it back to them. Most of those checks are fake and if you cash them, you will be on the hook for fraud and have to refund your bank. A good company should be good enough to pay you through a conventional bank or globally acceptable money transfer platforms if you are not in the organization’s country of origin.
Check with BBB
Better Business Bureau is now a global organization that helps you identify organizations and how trustworthy they are. When you are offered a job by a seemingly reputable company, the least you can do is check what BBB knows about them and whether they are reputable at all. The BBB score of your remote employer will tell you how good or bad your time with them will be. BBB also tracks scams and any scam employers will definitely be listed there.
Get reviews of the company
No company does business in a vacuum and if they offer goods or services, then they have customer reviews somewhere. You should google reviews of the company by searching its name and the word scam afterwards and then watch the results you get. You should also check the Glassdoor reviews as well as other sites that track the reputation of businesses.
Keep your job search record
No one is as eager as to call you for a job you never applied for. Websites like Indeed, Remotasks and Upwork will allow potential employers to contact you after looking at your profile. However, even on these sites, you have to apply for open jobs yourself and most of the people that contact you may actually be paying too little or just scammers out to steal from you. When applying for jobs on any reputable website online, it is important to keep some sort of record so that you don’t fall for scammers that claim they are offering a job when you never applied for one.
Don’t pay for anything when looking for a job
You are looking for a job so you can make money and the skills and qualifications you have as well as the time you take to apply for a job is your investment. No one should ask you to pay for the office equipment you need to work for them or any other type of upfront payment they may ask for. Any organization that requires employees to pay money to be employed is unreliable and if you are serious enough to look for a job, then you need your money enough to hold onto it until you get your first paycheck from an actual company.
Verify job offers with the official company website
Most companies, especially those that advertise jobs remotely take their time to set up a reputable website with a careers/jobs tab where open positions are advertised. Scammers don’t have the time to invest in all the tabs on a website as a real company would. Whichever website a job offer refers you to, you should verify each tab and make sure that it is an official website. You should also ensure that the email used is registered to the same domain as the website and that it is an official company email.
Look out for Vague Job Descriptions
Scammers aren’t exactly concerned about how qualified you are for the job, they are more interested in your private information and getting to use you as much as possible. Time is one thing they don’t have either because they want to get what they want from you quickly and be done with. Your job offer will therefore be vague with little focus on the details of what you are required to do on a daily basis. You should check the requirements of your job and ensure they are thoroughly examined as is required in any organization.
Don’t fall for “easy” Interviews
An interview should be done face to face or through a video call at the least. There should be a panel interviewing you and not a bunch of text messages to which you reply YES and NO. A real interview should test your ability to fit into a job description and scammers won’t do that so don’t fall for any interview that doesn’t ask you the hard questions.
Do you know anyone who has been scammed when looking for work? If you have why not tell us about it in the comments below.