Scams have always plagued our society and, thanks to the birth of the Internet, scammers were given an even easier way to con people while hiding behind their computers. After 2020 sent most of us into working fully remotely, scammers found a new community to take advantage of - remote job searchers. Unfortunately, these types of recruiting scams are running rampant and seem to get more clever by the day, especially as many workers have fallen victim to the recent amount of layoffs in 2023. However, there are some easy tell-tale signs to be wary of so you can help protect yourself and your professional peers from falling prey to these scams.
Scam Tactic 1: You're Asked to Pay for Something Up Front
These types of employment scams have been going on for decades (Multi-Level Marketing companies, anyone?). But these recruiters can be subtle with their requests. First, they might ask for you to submit a hiring fee, telling you, "Don't worry, all applicants do this." Or they might ask you to pay for a month’s subscription—just to “try out the product for yourself” before completing a test. These are two examples of scammy behavior to be aware of, but what they all typically have in common is that the recruiter is asking you for either a credit card number or bank account info. Remember: paying for any service or product is not something you should have to do to be considered for a job, period.
Scam Tactic 2: The Recruiter Doesn't Have a Company Address
It's easier than ever for people to create fake accounts using any name, image, and impressive-sounding resume of experience. But the biggest tell-tale sign that the recruiter is a scammer is that they do not have a legit email address from the company. Instead, they’re using a free service (Gmail or Hotmail, for example) to contact you. Normally, partnered with a near-legitimate excuse. If they are not emailing you, but using a chat feature, do some digging on the person who is trying to chat with you before responding. If they’re not connected to who they claim to be, it’s a scam.
Scam Tactic 3: They Can't Tell You Anything Meaningful About the Job
Real recruiters who are well-connected and great at their job will want to sell you on the job, touting the company’s strong culture, excellence, and ongoing solid reputation with their employees. If the recruiter is withholding information or details about what the job entails, that’s a red flag. Ask plenty of questions about what it’s like to work there, how teams are structured, and the accomplishments of the company in question. If they’re being evasive about these types of details, it’s time to tell them you’re not interested.
Scam Tactic 4: You're Asked For Sensitive Info Before an Offer
We’re not talking about normal background checks or the W2 information to get you set up on payroll (which happens after you’ve been offered the job). Recruiters should be able to conduct background checks with the info that is readily available on the internet or through the references you provide. If you’re being asked for sensitive information, like your credit card number, passport, or driver’s license, run for the hills.
Scam Tactic 5: The Process is Too Good to be True
This is perhaps the most insidious scam we've heard of recently. Sure, some companies want to hire quickly, but these scammers will make it seem like there is no necessary interview process. They’ll tell you they’re moving through super quick because they don’t want to lose a great candidate like you—yet you haven’t been given the chance to talk one-on-one with a hiring manager or anyone else who works at the company. What’s more, they might promise an outrageously high salary and incredible benefits. Then, before you know it, they’re offering you the job in exchange for your ID, bank account information, social security number, and more. Nope! Bottom line: if your entire experience seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Additional Steps You Can Take to Avoid Being Scammed
1. Do Your Own Research
Look at who works at the company, check out their website, and check to see if the recruiter is an actual employee through LinkedIn. If any of your connections know the company or are connected to the recruiter, ask them what their experiences have been with said recruiter and company. Even if the company and recruiter are legit, you still might not want to waste your time looking for work with a company that doesn’t get a thumbs-up from your trusted network.
2. Ask Lots of Questions Up Front
Any time anything feels fishy, ask a question to get the information you’re looking for. If the recruiter is guarded and withholding basic information, that’s a red flag. Tell them, "thank you, but no thank you," and move on.
3. Trust Your Gut
You have every right to decline to continue conversations with recruiters who do not make you feel safe. Whether it’s their rush to get you hired or subtle pressure they put on you to get you on the phone ASAP, you have every right to stop the conversation whenever you want.
At Artisan, however, we have a decades-long track record of connecting top talent with best-in-class companies. If you’re looking to find your next gig, we’re right here when you need us—no scams, all win-wins.
Editor's Note: Job offer scams are not slowing down. Based on the FTC's guidance, we recommend researching all companies that reach out to you with job opportunities and NEVER sharing any bank or checking information during the interview process. If you receive an email claiming to be from Artisan Talent that seems suspect, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com. All Artisan Talent emails should come with a verification blue check mark next to the name. Before deleting, please mark it as spam so your email provider can work to stop other people from getting scammed. For more information, see here.