When That Job Sounds too Good to be True

November 1, 2019


Good jobs aren’t easy to come by, even more so at a time of record unemployment in Iowa. But what about the enticing opportunity that just showed up in your inbox? Great pay and hours, signing bonus, no interview ...almost sounds too good to be true...

You probably know where this is going.

As the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Internet fraud is widespread, and job-seekers are a popular target for scams. In return for the promise of a lucrative new opportunity, scammers are really seeking innovative ways to access your bank account. Fake job postings are one of them. In fact, employment scams were one of the riskiest in 2018.

Fake Job Warning Signs


Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, employment scams may still find you. Here are a few warning signs that the “dream job” you’re considering may quickly be a nightmare.

  • You didn’t initiate the contact. Scam artists may say they found your resume online and think you’re the perfect fit for a great opportunity. Don’t recall posting your resume or applying for a job? Is the sender’s email address suspicious – i.e. not from a company domain? These are red flags.
  • Details about the job are vague. Scam job postings will be intentionally general (that’s so anyone can qualify!). Can’t tell exactly what your role would be? Don’t have a clear sense of what the company does? Remember, real job descriptions are often very specific.
  • Promises or guarantees of a lot of money, for minimal effort. Super-high salary for just a few hours of work? An immediate bonus? No need to interview? If this were an actual job, every available position would be full.
  • Something seems off. There are scammers who invest a lot of time in making fake job postings appear legitimate by stealing logos from real companies, personally addressing the communication and using professional tone and language. Look closer. Do you notice spelling, grammatical or capitalization errors? Is the email coming from a personal account, or one that doesn’t match the company’s name? Are you unable to find out anything about the company online? Trust your gut when something seems not quite right.
  • They ask for sensitive information or payment. This is the key high-alert, blinking-light warning, as it signals what the scammer is really after. Are they asking for direct deposit information? Want you to visit a website to fill out a credit report? Do you need to pay a fee to receive materials related to the job? Beware, and never share sensitive information, or follow suspicious links.
If you believe you’ve encountered an employment scam, here are places you can report it.