Thousands of students across the U.S. graduate and start their job search every year. Many of them will send resumes to the biggest brands in every industry, but instead of hearing from Microsoft, they are contacted by recruiters at unknown companies. How can you tell that a job offer is legit?
“Can I always trust a job offer?”
Sadly, there is a new scam emerging every day. Some of these are targeted at college students.
According to the Federal Trade Commission: “Scammers post ads online or in print for a variety of jobs, including work-at-home jobs. They sometimes even pretend to represent well-known companies or the government. But these ads are really just tricks to get your money or personal information.”
“Why would anyone fake a job offer?”
As you fill in a job application, you are often required to divulge personal information, including the basics: name, address, email, and phone. You are also sometimes asked for your social security number. With this information, scammers can steal your identity, gain access to a lot of information, and apply for credit cards in your name.
“How can I avoid a fake job offer?”
The most common place to find fake jobs is via online advertising. The ads take one of two forms:
Entirely fictional Job Postings
In this case, the company is fictional, and the job is fictional. These are quite easy to identify via basic research. Few scammers will go to the trouble of building a legitimate website or having phone numbers and email addresses that match the company name.
Stolen Job Postings
Using job posts that are copied, some scammers will pretend to represent a company, and make an effort to cover their tracks. They may send you actual job information and have a shockingly similar email address. For example, they might pretend to be a Google employee, but their email address is @gogle.com
As you research the job offer, you may find it is factual, but the person you are dealing with is not.
- Always check the URL of an email address.
- If you didn’t apply for the job, be suspicious.
- If the contact is a recruiter, ask where they found your information and where you can upload your resume for this job.
- Try calling the company to verify the identity of your contact.
How to stay safe when considering a job offer
There are ways to be careful with your information.
- Use a recruiter.
Working with a recruiter is the easiest way to get your foot in the door at well-established companies. Even if you receive a job offer from a company, you can still ask your recruiter to validate it for you.
- Work with transition offices.
Each military branch and every college, university, or trade school has a transition office – and usually a website too – to help students validate a job offer.
- Don’t give out too much information before it’s due.
Your social security number should not be necessary unless there is a background check. No employer will do a background check before chatting with you and probably not before offering you the job.
- Keep meticulous records of your job applications.
Remember the companies you are applying to, how you applied, and what you have provided to them. With this information, you should get a good feel for whether a job offer is legitimate or a scam.
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