Developing Your Career

Beware Craigslist Job Scams

By Joan Andrews on August 27, 2012

Everything can be found on Craigslist these days from lawnmowers to diamond rings to jobs. In fact, a large section is devoted specifically to job postings. But before jumping into what may seem like a “too good to be true” opportunity, look for the red flags that indicate a scam.

Even Craigslist itself issues this warning right on the site: “SCAM ALERT – affiliate scammers are posting bogus ads promising (nonexistent!) employment, paid research trials, or other compensation ….”

So don’t expect Craigslist to be ferreting out all the fraudulent listings. The task of determining what is legitimate is up to you.

Keep in mind that shady listings could be a scam for gathering personal information.  Especially beware of the “employer” who asks for all your information – right down to your social security number – so they can do a credit check before hiring you. Or perhaps they want your bank account information so they can deposit your checks. It’s an easy way for them to steal your identity and steal your money.

They may also come right out and ask you to send cash so they can get you started in your next million dollar dream job. They might say the money is for initial training or employment supplies.

Look for these other red flags before jumping in:

  • Generic job titles such as “Customer Service Representative” or “Administrative Assistant”.
  • Listings that lack a specific company location within the general area you are searching.
  • Offers a salary that seems unusually high.
  • Work-from-home jobs – especially for a company with no main office.
  • Strange sentences with misspellings and lots of exclamation points.
  • No job contact information.
  • Listed as a government job.
  • Description of ‘No Experience Necessary’ but high pay.
  • International job offering with no actual interview site.

If you feel comfortable with a posting and would like to pursue it further, do your homework. Don’t even waste time sending a resume until you’ve done a generic inquiry. Research the company the best you can. Ask questions of your contact.  If you’re not talking to real people, but just sending blind emails to an automated system, scratch it off your list.

Since Craigslist is a free post system, it’s a big attraction for scam artists. The fraudulent postings may even outweigh the good ones. Consider carefully before you jump into their traps.


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