Guidelines for Safe Job Search

The internet has made many functions of daily life easier and more efficient. But it has also given unscrupulous individuals new tools to perpetrate scams. At Indeed, our mission of helping people get jobs includes working proactively to keep predatory content out of search results and providing tools to help job seekers protect their personal information and financial well-being.

The following guidelines are designed to help job seekers recognize and avoid fraudulent tactics.

Job Search Do’s

Look for verifiable company email addresses. Larger, more established companies have email addresses with top level domains that match their websites. Communications from such large established companies should most often not come from publicly available addresses like yahoo or gmail. If you are contacted by someone with a generic address, ask if they are able to conduct communications via a company domain email address. If they can’t or won’t, proceed with caution.

Watch closely for email addresses with misspelled or “spoofed” company names. These are often similar to, but not exactly matching the actual company name. Examples of suspicious addresses include “Info@company.net” instead of “Info@company.com,” and misspelled company names like “Info@companie.com” or  “Info@compaany.com.”

Match the job offer to your application. Avoid bait-and-switch scams by confirming that employers that respond to your applications are offering the job for which you applied.

Be cautious when pursuing positions with salaries, perks and flexibility that seem too good to be true. Ask questions to confirm that the position is salaried (not commission only) and that there is a physical base of operations when a “work from home” opportunity is advertised.

Insist on an in-person meeting. Be wary of job offers that come with little or no interview process. Scammers will often avoid face-to-face interviews by relying on chat services, Skype calls or Google hangouts while offering “work from home” positions.

Always report suspicious communications to Indeed. Always report suspicious communications to Indeed. If you are contacted by someone you suspect of fraudulent intentions or suspicious business practices, please contact Indeed immediately.

Job Search Don’ts

Never send any form of payment to a potential employer you apply to on Indeed. Not only is charging fees a violation of Indeed’s rules for companies, these are often a type of scam (see “Types of scams.”)

Never agree to perform any financial transaction on behalf of a potential employer. This includes accepting or making wire transfers or cashing checks sent to you in order to make purchases on someone’s behalf.

Never agree to a job that involves opening multiple accounts and/or posting ads on Indeed or on other sites. These are likely scammers and you could become involved in activities that put you in financial and legal jeopardy.

Never accept money upfront for work you have not performed. This is a tactic commonly used in financial scams and puts you at considerable legal risk.

Types of Scams to Avoid

Check Scams

Check scams get people to unwittingly take on the risk of passing a bad check. Look out for scammers that offer elaborate stories about needing a personal assistant, caregiver or someone to cash a check to make large purchases or transfer money for them while they are out of town. These often include stories where:

    • You are required to purchase expensive medical equipment for a family member for them.
    • They are going to open up a new office “in your area” and you are required to purchase office supplies, equipment or software using the check.
    • They offer to pay you up front for work you haven’t performed yet and ask that you transfer the remainder of the check to another account for them.

Money Laundering Scams

Reputable, legitimate companies should never ask you to perform financial transactions or money transfers for them, especially via Western Union, MoneyGram or BitCoin. Even you are not asked to transfer any of your own money, these unsavory entities are often looking for other people to perform scam related financial transactions so they don’t have to.

Shipping Scams

There is no legitimate scenario where an employer should require you to re-ship packages from your home. These are known as Reshipping Scams and offer work-at-home positions, sometimes advertised as “merchandising manager” or “package processing assistant.” Duties include receiving packages and mailing them to foreign addresses on behalf of a client, using postage-paid mailing labels provided via email. Unbeknownst to the new “employee,” these packages contain:

  • Merchandise bought with stolen credit cards, which are smuggled out of the country by the reshipping scam.
  • Counterfeit postal money orders, which are distributed to other scammers.

After helping to smuggle these things out of the country, an “employee” is paid with counterfeit checks or postal money orders. More information on reshipping scams is available from the U.S. Postal Inspection Services website.

Fee Scams

It shouldn’t cost you money to apply for a job. Not only do fee scams fleece job seekers, they are also signs that a company is involved in other shady activities. Certain legitimate expenditures like uniforms and job tools may be required after you accept a position, but are generally deducted from your salary after you begin working. Likewise, background checks are most often paid for by the employer or offered directly to you by a local government agency and should not be paid by you in the form of a fee to the employer. Types of fees often levied unscrupulously include:

  • application fees
  • recruiter placement fees
  • interview reservations
  • training fees
  • resume formatting/re-writing fees
  • background check fees

If you have any concerns about a job you find on Indeed or receive any communication of job offer that concerns you, please contact Indeed immediately.

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