Beware of Fraudulent Job Postings

The use of job boards to perpetrate fraud on unsuspecting job seekers is growing at an alarming rate. There are many domestic and international predators looking to relieve you of your money or personal information.

Most are out of reach of law enforcement.  Many, if not most, are international. Even if the US law enforcement would get involved the likelihood of convictions is very small.

So where does that leave you? Most legitimate job sites screen and eliminate bogus postings. screens all postings prior to placing them online.

To make matters worse, there are totally bogus job sites. They look legitimate but peel back the onion and you’ll find the real truth. The sites look good, posted jobs look real and they provide you with the luxury of submitting your resume. What is really happening is that these web sites pirate job postings from legitimate sites and present them as their own. What they really want is your resume. Likely for their nefarious benefit. Certainly not for yours.

How do you avoid bogus sites? Simply, if you are not familiar with a particular site do not give them your personal information. Of course search their job listings, but if the only way of contacting an employer is to submit a resume or fill out a form, it’s time to move on.

Now, there are those job postings that get through a job site fraud filters. They present a legitimate looking vulture1job — perhaps even a real job.  A red flag is that they want you to pay an up-front fee. The fees are often represented as “initial registration processing” and may be as low as $30 to $50. A request for job training fees, often several hundred dollars,  is another way of extracting your gold.  Should you encounter any fee requirements, my advice is don’t just walk, but run, from these scams.

It’s tough, particularly for older job seekers, to look at job sites and postings objectively. Many are so desperate to find work that they are often blinded by the obvious fraud. When we are scanning new job postings at we first look for the obvious: limited or confusing job title and job descriptions, poor grammar and spelling possibly written by a non-English speaking individual, offers too good to be true, and details of specific job requirements but are willing to take individuals with no experience. Be wary of listings that have any of these characteristics.

We often see job postings from apparently real companies with real jobs and a real link to the company’s web site. But the contact email address or fax # is not related to the company.  Again they are endeavoring to fraudulently obtain your personal information.

A variation to the above are postings with a link that appears to be the company site but is actually a scam site that has been duplicated from the real company’s site. Again the motive is the same.

OK, we have talked about your reading ads on job sites. Another associated fraud is scammers  calling you on the phone or emailing you. They already have your resume in hand and pretend to be a legitimate recruiter but in many cases have acquired it via illegal means. Their objective is to extract more personal information than what is on the resume or try to convince you to send them money to process an application. This is the same as fraudulent job postings.

So what are the dos and don’ts? Do be suspicious. Do look at job postings or other communications with a critical eye knowing that there is fraud lurking out there. I’ve heard of cases where 8 of 10 job postings are fraudulent  Most are caught and removed before they are online for any length of time. But the scammers are tenacious to say the least. You must be suspicious.

Don’t include  information in your resume or cover letter that could potentially compromise your personal, confidential information.  Likewise, Do Not respond to questions or queries that request for information that can be used for theft of your identity.

So what is the answer? There are many– actually most — legitimate job listings. For those that are confusing or don’t pass your initial test, quickly move on. Remember if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck, it is likely a duck.

A non-related note: You must make your job search a full time job, with overtime.



  1. Lee Schwartz

    re: “Fraudulent Job Postings” by admin, Oct 5, 2009

    Excellent article. I have encountered many of the items that admin writes about, in my pursuit of employment, over the years. In order to avoid many of the potential problems, I no longer include any personal information (name, phone #, address, etc.) on my resume………just an e-mail address, which is completely separate from my personal address. It doesn’t solve all the problems, but does give you some protection from local and international “predators”.

  2. Chucki Kelly

    We unemployed are becoming a majority among citizens over 50. There should be something we can do to eliminate all the bogus job listings posted on line. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs on line and have been afforded virtually NO acknowledgment of my application. I don’t believe even the well-known, actual operating businesses are really hiring. None of the companies are interested in hiring anyone !
    Is there any way we can make a joint statement to these people that we will not recognize them or patronize them until they stop pretending to be offering employment? Think about it. You qualify on every level for these advertised jobs, and you can’t even get an interview? Something’s really phony about this.


    all the baby boomers need to send a message(s) to OUR government in Washington
    and locally, that we are tried of the decrimination going on in our faces from Companies that are hiring high school kids, no less work experience(s) over older American workers or those that are not legal to be working in these United States.
    We need to to fire under those in Washington and locally, remind them of re election, when they come up to be re elected or want to be re elected

  4. Nik

    well it is the problem but it is not only in job postings the main problemhere is information overload,you dont know which one you should check out and which one you should leave and you leave important ones because of excessive information available online.

  5. Asher Adelman

    These job scams are beyond unethical. Also, watch out for the worst employers taking advantage of good employees. That’s why I have this blog protecting people from working at toxic jobs –

  6. T Scott

    In my market there are a number of (relatively large) companies that I am especially interested in working for. I’ve noticed that many companies have their own “Careers” section on their website. My guess is that these are at least legitimate job listings. From a little closer look at the code, sometimes a third party is administering this section of their website, so there is a potential for abuse and fraud from that.

  7. John Sam

    Thanks for that post.Makes me want to learn more info on blog

  8. Yo, BillyBob

    As stated in this posting, “due diligence” is, and must be, a tantamount element of everyone’s job search efforts when searching the job boards. Phishers, identity thieves, scammers and spammers, have found a gold mine in the last “wild frontier” known as the World Wide Web. Postings are beginning to be crafted with smooth and convincing descriptions by those who think they can freely prey on the emotional upheaval brought on by being suddenly unemployed.

    I’ve been approached by quite a few of them during my current job search and, while you may be desperately want to get back to work, be smart about it and look for telltale signs that should waive red flags at you. The company says they’ve been doing business since 1995 and have helped many clients drive their businesses to success. Look at the bottom of their web page to find its copyright date. 2011? Hmmm…kinda unusual that they’re just now moving their platform to the web, dontcha think? Do they disclose their physical address, showing street, city and state? Do they list contact phone numbers or email addresses for you to send inquiries? Is their executive staff identified by name, perhaps with a bio about each? Loads of clients – where are the testimonials or references to those businesses by name? Does their site have links to advertisers who are happy to be affiliated with them, or is it bare bones? They want you to take an IQ or personality profile test – hmmm…their supposed interest in you should preclude a need for such stuff because a genuine employer would have already determined your potential from your resume, cover letter and references. Most nasty is when they tell you a credit history check is required as a prerequisite for consideration. Agreeing to permit them to perform such a check requires you to provide your SSN and other data that is comparable to giving them the keys to your front door and telling them when you won’t be at home, so they can come clean you out.

    There are a number of websites (I like to call them “Joe-The Helpful Guys”) that are eager to help (ergo Joe The Helpful Guy) by posting scam alerts, providing services to track email sources back to their place of origination (longitude and latitude, sometimes city, state or even country). Learning how to use their information or tools will take your due diligence to the next level, and can give you a comfort level to either proceed or discard with a purported opportunity. And regarding email, please don’t forget WiFi. WiFi allows a perpetrator to take their laptop to a hotspot, send an email and avoid being tracked back to the rock they actually live under.

    These tough economic times have made the jobless more eager than ever. Businesses have been forced to do the same with less to shed overhead. But the survivors have realized that they can do the same with less and are now less eager to re-employ those who they needed to turn loose, just to stay afloat during the storm. Don’t allow desperation to overrule sensibility when job searching. Even legitimate job boards have been infiltrated by these scumbags and the author of this blog entry makes a good point when saying prosecution of these bandits is difficult, at best.

    Make no mistake – some will fall for it, potentially inviting years of pain because of it, and then looking back with hindsight, asking themselves “how could I have been so blind?” Do your best to not become one of them. Do your homework. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. If your due diligence provides more questions than answers, move on. But above all, do your best to stay positive and keep hope, because without hope, there is only despair. Don’t fall victim to your own desperation by being too eager to jump before checking if pool is safe to dive into.

    This country is comprised of some of the most resourceful and determined people on the planet – Americans. Be diligent, watchful, and become a Joe The Helpful Guy. Take the time to rat-out the scumbags to your State’s Attorney General’s Office, to IC3 in Washington DC, to your local Better Business Bureau, and to the blogs or websites who try to alert the unsuspecting about these fraudulent activities. The time spent won’t help you to find employment any faster, but, trust me, you’ll sure feel good that you’re doing your part to help out your fellow Americans!

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  12. Ellyn Camp

    ATT is a company that asks the question on their application, Are you over 40. I have applied at this company and went through the testing process and I was called out and told I do not qualify without any explanation. The rest of the applicants were younger than me and they stayed and got interviewed. ATT should be fined for discrimination. They need to be investigated. I have a Master’s degree and experience and they said I did not have any customer service experience. I know I did well on their test and they would not discuss anything with me. They basically throught me out.

  13. Kate

    Beware of Applicant Tree job postings! they are a way for telemarketers to get your cell phone number!

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