FlexJobs Warns Against Remote Work Job Scams Ahead of National Consumer Protection Week

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Career service delivers key advice to keep remote job seekers safe

"For professionals to fully protect themselves from these fraudulent and dangerous activities while job searching, remote job seekers must be able to identify the warning signs of scams and stay vigilant as new scams arise,” said Sara Sutton, Founder and CEO at FlexJobs.

Job scams are a concerning part of the modern work landscape, with the number of reported job and employment agency-related scams nearly tripling between 2020 and 2021. Despite the growing number of legitimate work-from-home opportunities over the past few years, Better Business Bureau (BBB) estimates 14 million people are exposed to employment scams each year, costing workers $2 billion in direct losses annually. In honor of National Consumer Protection Week (March 5-11, 2023) and to help professionals stay safe in their job search, FlexJobs is warning against online work scams and sharing advice on how to avoid them.

I founded FlexJobs back in 2007 specifically to help job seekers connect to legitimate remote career opportunities,” said Sara Sutton, Founder and CEO at FlexJobs. “With the majority of people now pursuing remote careers, our mission has become more important than ever before. For professionals to fully protect themselves from these fraudulent and dangerous activities while job searching, remote job seekers must be able to identify the warning signs of scams and stay vigilant as new scams arise,” Sutton concluded.

16 of the latest and most common remote job scams are below, with more details and examples of job postings demonstrating the language and presentation of the scams found here.

16 Remote Job Scams to Watch Out for in 2023

1. Using Fake URLs, Photos, and Company Names
2. Gaining Access to Personal Financial Information
3. Communicating Through Chat
4. Lacking Verifiable Information
5. Phishing
6. Google Doc: Inviting or Mentioning
7. Paying for Remote Work Equipment
8. Data Entry
9. Pyramid Marketing
10. Stuffing Envelopes from Home
11. Wire Transfers
12. Unsolicited Job Offers
13. Online Reshipping
14. Rebate Processor
15. Assembling Crafts/Products
16. Career Advancement Grants

In addition to familiarizing oneself with the latest job scams, FlexJobs’ remote work experts emphasize the importance of knowing the warning signs of a scam in job descriptions, interviews, and on social media.

Warning Signs of an Online Job Scam

  • The job seeker is asked for personal financial information, such as a social security number, bank account, home address and phone number, or date of birth early on in the job interview process
  • The job claims to pay a lot of money for little work
  • The company boasts several rags-to-riches stories that showcase high-flying lifestyles
  • The job posting mentions quick money or drastic income changes overnight
  • The job posting has glaring grammatical or spelling errors
  • The product is supposedly endorsed by celebrities or public figures
  • The contact email address is personal (e.g., johnsmith3843@gmail.com) or one that mimics a real company’s email address (e.g., johnsmith@dellcomputercompany.com)
  • The job requires several up-front expenses from candidates
  • Compensation is based on how many people a worker recruits

Signs of a Job Scam: In the Interview

  • Candidates get a message from a generic company email address – Recruiters use the job board or social media platform to communicate with candidates instead of their personal email addresses.
  • The interview is alarmingly short – Job scammers don’t want to conduct lengthy interviews and will offer candidates the job immediately. Legitimate recruiters want to establish a relationship, verify applicants’ work experience, and ask for references.
  • The entire interview process is done without speaking to a live person – Not speaking to a live person or including text or online chat tools is a red flag. Most legitimate companies don’t reach out to recruit via text unless a candidate already applied on the company’s site and opted to receive text messages.
  • The candidate is asked for personal information or money – Sensitive information (like a social security number, date of birth, or bank account information) should never be a part of the early recruitment process. Legitimate employers and hiring managers don’t require an application fee or expect candidates to pay for training.
  • The interview is with a “mystery company” – Legitimate employers will always disclose the name of the company to candidates.

Signs of a Scam: On Social Media

  • Unclear or unrelated comments from a stranger – No matter what kind of post or which platform it appears on, if comments are enabled, scammers may appear in a job seeker’s comments section. They commonly post a random message unrelated to the subject, then try to get users to directly message them (often by clicking a link) about an “amazing opportunity.”
  • Posts shared on an individual’s feed or in their direct messages – Scammers will post or direct message people in hopes of getting them to take the bait on a job scam. When a scam appears on social media, report it. Never click any links or engage with these posts in any way.

Best Practices: Avoiding Scams

  • Consider keywords (and variations) indicative of a work-from-home job scam, such as:

     -- Free work-from-home jobs
     -- Quick money
     -- Unlimited earning potential
     -- Multi-level marketing
     -- Envelope stuffing
     -- Investment opportunities and seminars
     -- Part-time jobs with full-time pay

  • Always practice proper due diligence on both the recruiter and the job.
  • Use a reputable job search service like FlexJobs that pre-screens and vets every job and company before posting opportunities on their site.

More advice can be found in FlexJobs’ recent webinar covering how to differentiate legitimate work opportunities from harmful ones. The remote career service reminds job seekers and members that it will never reach out to request payments. If sent a suspicious email or message from someone pretending to be FlexJobs or using FlexJobs’ name, do not respond in any way. When in doubt, contact FlexJobs directly at feedback@flexjobs.com.

Please visit https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/common-job-search-scams-how-to-protect-yourself-v2/ or contact Shanna Briggs at sbriggs@flexjobs.com for more information.

About FlexJobs
FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in remote, hybrid, and flexible jobs, with over 135 million people having used its resources since 2007. FlexJobs provides the highest-quality database of vetted remote and flexible job listings, from entry-level to executive, startups to public companies, part-time to full-time. To support job seekers in all phases of their career journey, FlexJobs also offers extensive expert advice, career coaching services, webinars, and other resources. In parallel, FlexJobs works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace. A trusted source for data, trends, and insight, FlexJobs has been cited extensively in top national outlets, including CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, CNBC, Forbes magazine, and many more. FlexJobs also has partner sites Remote.co and Job-Hunt.org to help round out its content and job search offerings. Follow FlexJobs on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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