Scam artists thrive on hitting targets where they’re most vulnerable. For many people, economic anxiety is an ever-present issue, hence cybercriminals’ propensity for exploiting it. In addition to putting a strain on one’s finances, being out of work can lead to feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Making matters worse is the societal stigma placed on unemployment. Since working oneself ragged is often treated as a point of pride, it’s easy to see why so many jobseekers feel the need to find employment as quickly as possible. This all makes great fodder for cybercriminals, who have been peddling employment scams for as long as the internet has been a part of daily life. Keeping an eye out for the following red flags will help prevent jobseekers from falling victim to the ever-expanding assortment of online employment cons.

You’re Contacted by an Employer You Never Reached Out to

One of the oldest employment scams in the book is built around people posing as employers and contacting jobseekers via email. These emails often purport to have found the target’s resume online and been wowed by it. Based on the experience shown in the resume, this “employer” thinks the target is perfect for a high-paying job in his or her chosen field. To add an air of authenticity, the authors of these emails frequently borrow the logos of legitimate companies. Although being sought out by an employer isn’t completely unheard of, it’s highly unusual to receive an offer from a company you never applied to. Typically, this only happens when a friend or family member recommends you for a job, and even then, they’re unlikely to keep this from you. Furthermore, these emails often contain malware-laden attachments and/or links to sites that are crawling with malicious software. Site owners looking to stay malware-free can read up on cloud-based solutions in SiteLock reviews.

You’ve Been Pre-Selected for the Job

You’d be hard-pressed to find an employer who’s willing to hire someone for a salaried full-time position without conducting an in-person interview. Even if the interview is just a formality, no legitimate employer will hire you full-time without meeting you at least once. For this reason, jobseekers should be wary of emails that claim they’ve already been selected for certain positions. Even if you have a pre-existing history with a certain employer, emails like this should be highly suspect. In many cases, these emails request that targets submit a bevy of personal financial information so that a speedy pre-employment credit check can be conducted. Unsurprisingly, once this info is handed over, you’re unlikely to ever hear from this “employer” again.

There’s no question that job interviews can be tough. With many companies requiring new hires to go through several rounds of interviews, the prospect of landing a good job without a single interview can seem very tempting. However, this is also incredibly unrealistic, and it’s important to remember that a legitimate employer would not conduct business in this manner.   

The Job Description is Vague

When perusing popular job boards like Monster, Indeed and Craigslist, you’re bound to come across a few fakes. Fortunately, fraudulent listings are fairly easy to spot, provided you know what to look for. Vagueness is generally a solid indicator that there’s something fishy about a listing. This entails poorly-defined qualifications, job duties and salary information. Such listings are often vehicles through whichscammers make contact with jobseekers and obtain an assortment of financial information. Real employers care about filling positions with the right applicants, which is why legitimate listings aren’t shy about outlining the particulars of the jobs they advertise.   

Suddenly finding yourself without gainful employment can be frightening. Depending on your financial situation, even a brief period of unemployment stands to deplete your personal savings. On the flipside, working isn’t always an end-all solution for financial anxiety. Since a sizable percentage of the workforce feels underpaid and underappreciated, wanting to fast-track your way up the career ladder is perfectly understandable. Scam artists seek to capitalize on these desires, and the offers they make can sound very tempting to individuals on the hunt for better careers. Learning the most common indicators of employment scams can prevent jobseekers from falling into the traps set by increasingly aggressive cybercriminals.