Unfortunately, “Do you think this job is legit?” is a question the career services team at Minnesota School of Business-Elk River hears all too often.
“I bet once or twice a month we get a question from current students or graduates asking about the legitimacy of a job,” says associate director of career services, Doni Deters.
According to Deters and Tammy Erickson, director of career services, when they get a phone call about a potential job scam they discuss with the student several ways to spot and avoid job scams.
Here are 6 tips for avoiding job scams that the career services team put together:
- Personal invitation—if you receive a phone call about a job that you didn’t apply for, it is a great indication that it is a job scam.
- Mysterious company—a company that won’t give up the nature of its business or one that makes you go through the interview process to “learn more about us” is usually not a company you want to work for. Legitimate companies will be transparent. Even if a company is hiring confidentially, they will still disclose information once they have selected candidates to be interviewed.
- Work from home—although this trend is becoming more popular, it is still rare when companies offer telecommuting to employees and it certainly isn’t usually advertised as such. If the basis of the job is that it offers stay-at-home privileges, be skeptical.
- Start-up costs—there should never be the exchange of money before the start date of a job and most legitimate companies do not require a “start-up fee” or a “training fee.” Traditionally, companies having start-up fees are pyramid schemes or multi-level marketing scams where you sell products or services and receive a commission.
- Communication via email—if the only communication you have had with the potential employer is through email be very suspicious. Typically, interviews are done in-person or through the phone, and even phone interviews lead to in-person interviews before a job is actually offered. Also, never provide any personal information like your social security number through email.
- Too good to be true—unfortunately, if the job sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
If you are ever unsure of a job listing, please contact Doni or Tammy in career services and they can help you sort through whether the job is likely a scam or the real deal.