As if job hunting wasn’t hard enough, jobseekers also need to lookout for scams.

canadian-anti-fraud-centreWith many of us competing for jobs in an uneasy economy, scammers are taking advantage of the populace who just want to get back on the employment track.

It’s easy to say “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The reality is that in times of uncertainty, like when looking for a job, the promise of rich rewards and our own desire to get hired can blind us from suspicious behaviour.

The Ontario Provincial Police created a page sharing tips and what to look out for to avoid employment recruitment scams. These include being wary of the use of “wrong grammar, spelling and wording” and odd phrasing.

This January, a jobseeker shared her job scam experience with the Red Deer Express. The publication’s Co-editor Erin Fawcett reported Donna Johansson brush with scammers, who posted fraudulent job listings on Kijiji and Indeed.com. On the first instance, Johansson was able to suss out the fraudsters with their fake ‘corporate’ locations, which showed bogus addresses abroad and in Canada. On the second instance, another company was asking her to send copies of her personal ID and passport.

The news follows a CBC report by Janice Johnston in November 2015 that reported job scams are on the rise in Alberta as unemployment rates increase. In it, a fake business consulting firm ‘TipTop Energy’ that have scammed jobseekers in Alberta and Manitoba. At least ten people came forward to CBC and have filed cases with the RCMP, at the time of CBC’s report. The suspicious posting was listed on Workopolis, despite the site’s initial screening process.

How do you protect yourself against these ills?

1 – Do a background check on your background check. Creating a website ‘front’ is easy these days, so make sure that contact numbers, emails and company staff are all legitimate. Verify information about the interviewer and the company. The following are some examples of what you can do:

  • Check the company’s digital presence (their website and social media accounts).
  • Look for profiles of current and past employees online.
  • Browse for any news coverage or corporate releases by the company. 
  • Scan for reviews about the company and their services on sites like the Better Business Bureau.
  • Scan scam lists online.

2 – Be mindful of the details. Are they asking you to meet in a dodgy area? Is the company email from a free account? Are they asking you to pay a fee in advance? These are some red flags that the ‘company’ you are dealing with might be scamming you.

3 – Keep your personal info on a need-to-know basis. Make sure you clearly understand why the company needs the information they say they require to hire you. Don’t share your personal information (like bank accounts or passports), unless you are signing a contract with someone you have vetted. Note: companies will never ask for your passport.

4 – Go ahead and ask! Ask about everything. Make sure the company is transparent with you and that you understand what they’re all about.

5 – Beware of vague job descriptions. Legitimate companies are looking for candidates with a specific set of skills to fill a specific role. They won’t use vague, roundabout phrases to attract candidates.

6 – Use only trusted employment agencies and websites. Sites like WeEmploy.com, only carry job listings from companies with which our staff have been in direct contact. This puts an extra layer on top of paid subscriptions to our security measures.

If you come across a scam, report it to the RCMP and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can also check out the latter for more information on other types of fraudulent behaviour.

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