What is a job scam and how can you spot it?
What’s worse than not getting the job you really wanted? Getting caught by job scams that often target university-age people. It happens when you apply for a job that looks and sounds real, but then things quickly go bad. Especially in the times of COVID-19, job scammers are taking advantage of the ability to work from home, so it is important to stay extra vigilant.
Most often, if a job offer seems too good to be true, it usually is. This includes being offered a job without an interview or an application, a job paying much higher than typical, a six or seven-figure salary for an entry level position, and more.
There are many warning signs that can help you identify whether you’ve run into a job scam:
- The message asking you for an interview or offering you a job was unsolicited. These are usually sent through email, text, or even by phone call. It is not standard practice to get an interview or job offer without first applying to the position. If you've been offered a job without completing an interview, or if you’ve been given an interview to a position you have not applied for, delete the message and block the sender.
- The employer sends you a cheque, asks you to cash it and then send that money or a portion of it to another person or company. This is a scamming technique called an “overpayment scam,” and is a form of money laundering used to send fraudulent or stolen money to other parties.
- The employer says: “We can’t do an interview due to COVID-19, but we really want to hire you.” Employers will usually do online interviews via a videoconferencing application.
Other warning signs include:
- Being asked to provide your banking credentials, including credit card numbers or Social Insurance Number (SIN).
- Being offered a job after an interview where few or no questions were asked.
- Being told to wire money to the company.
- Being offered a large salary for minimal work.
- Being unable to access job contact information.
- The person’s email handle does not match their name or contact information.
- Receiving an email from someone in a foreign country looking to hire people in Canada to handle accounts payables or receivables.
- Being asked to invest/deposit your money in cryptocurrency.
How can you avoid getting involved in a job scam?
Always err on the side of caution and do some research before accepting job offers, meeting for interviews, and giving away personal information. Look into the organization that has reached out. Look at their website. Search for the person who contacted you. Does their name match the email they used to contact you? Is it a personal email, or a work email? Scammers are never perfect and with the right research, they can be spotted and avoided.
Most of your interviews will be scheduled through MCS, and you will be notified by firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes however, employers will reach out to you directly and ask for an interview. In this circumstance, be sure to reference your job application history on myCareer to make sure this is a position you have applied to. Often, students who apply to many jobs might forget that they have not applied to a certain company which could result in being caught in a job scam.
What should you do if you think you’re involved in a job scam?
Contact your work-term advisor (or anyone at MCS) immediately and explain your situation. The staff at MCS know what actions need to be taken should you find yourself in this situation and can provide guidance on next steps.