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How to Identify Fake/Scam Jobs

Updated on May 06, 2021 23030 views
How to Identify Fake/Scam Jobs

Searching for a job can be a very tiring experience especially when you keep getting rejected (wow, that frustration). If you have searched for a job or you are still searching, then you must know what it feels like to be a job seeker.

The endless waiting periods in office receptions, the long commute, constantly surfing the internet for opportunities, spending money to attend interviews with no assurance of getting a job. All these are the baggage that comes with job hunting.

Even though job seekers experience different challenges that are enough to last them a lifetime, some unscrupulous business people still take advantage of their desperation to swindle them and rub them off their hard-earned money by offering them fake jobs.

Just as there are legitimate job opportunities, there are also scam jobs and fake jobs opportunities advertised every day for a different reason.

As a job seeker, you need to learn how to protect yourself from scammers pretending to be recruiters/employers. How can you tell if a job is a scam or a fake job?

It may not be easy for you to tell a scam job from a legitimate one especially if you are new to job search. In this article, you are going to learn the different ways to tell a scam job and avoid being deceived.

Before we go into details on how to identify a scam/fake job, let us look at what it is.


What is a fake/scam job?

A fake/scam job is simply a job opportunity that is not legitimate. Most scam jobs usually look like a legitimate job posting at the surface, but these jobs are intended to swindle job candidates off their money, personal information, etc.

Fraudsters post these jobs to deceive job seekers that are actively searching for jobs to get either money or other things from them. Some of these job adverts may appear real, but they are fake.

These fraudsters deceive people by giving them false hope of a better employment opportunity, flexible working hours or higher wages.


Why are there fake/scam jobs?

Just like there are fake clothes, shoes, electrical gadgets, there are also fake jobs. Why are there fake jobs? Fake jobs exist because there are inconsiderate people that want to take advantage of a desperate job seeker situation.

These kind of people don't post fake Jobs for the fun of it, they post these scam jobs for the following reasons:

To get money

These people know that job seekers' are naturally "frustrated" and desperate to find something to do. So they take advantage of their desperation, post a fake job, then ask them to pay before getting access to these jobs.

To get people for rituals/trafficking

This may sound superstitious, but it happens especially in this part of the world. Some wicked people post fake jobs and then direct innocent job seekers to weird locations for the interview, then they would able to capture them and do whatever they want with them.

To harvest peoples' emails and information

Some people post fake jobs just to get the emails of people and other information they consider relevant. Sometimes they do this because they want to market a product or service to the people that they have gotten their emails. Some harvest these emails to sell them to other people that may need them.

To get people to join their sales pyramid/multi-level marketing

Many people that are involved with multi-level marketing and sales pyramid always lookout for different ways to get people to join/register under them. The more people that are registered under them the higher their rank and the money they eventually get.

These people know that people don't like to be part of their scheme, so they go to any length to deceitfully get people to join them.

Regardless of the different reasons why people post fake jobs, one underlining factor we can see is "deceit". On a larger scale, any job that appears to be one thing (judging from the job description, etc.) and then appears to be another thing is a fake/scam job even if it ends up being a job.

For example:

If you see a job advert that says: Graphic Design Executive opening at xxxxxxxx, you read the description of the job and it looks like something you want to do. Only for you to attend the interview to find out that the job has nothing to do with graphic design at all. In fact, the recruiter did not mention anything like that, instead, they talked about marketing/sales role.

From the example below, the marketing/sales job is legitimate but the job is still considered a fake job because the employer/recruiter deceived the candidate into applying for the job in the first place. These are some of the reasons why people post fake jobs, but there might still be other reasons.


How to identify a fake/scam job

We have talked about fake/scam jobs, what they are, and why people post these kinds of jobs. In this section, we are going to look at how you can identify these fake/scam jobs when you see them and also help you avoid falling into the hands of fraudsters.

1. When an offer appears to be too good to be true

Everyone looks forward to getting the best things, but notwithstanding if you don't have what it takes (skills, experience, certification, etc.) to attract a 6 figure job and you get an offer that states that then you should question the credibility of that job offer.

Some multi-national companies indeed offer great compensation packages, but those kinds of offers come with series and different stages of interviews. Most scam jobs don't require you to pass through different interview stages.

For example:

Work for only 2-3 hours per day and earn up to N500, 000 per month.

Here the competitive salary is the bait to get you to click on the job advert and finally apply for the job. From this job advert, you do not know what you are going to be doing, what the job/company is all about. The only thing they tell you is how much you will make.

When you come across these kinds of job adverts, make sure you do thorough research. If you cant do research based on some reasons, simply run to save yourself from future problems.

2. When you did not apply for the job but got contacted

The job search process is quite simple. You see an advert for a job that you are interested in, you apply for the job, the employer finds you quite interesting – then you will be invited for an interview, after the interview you get to know whether or not you got the job.

Above is the normal process to landing a job, but sometimes you just get an interview invite without applying for a job that you cannot remember applying for. When you get these kinds of a job offer, there is a high possibility that the job is fake.

We know that some companies like to reach – out to their job candidates directly without advertising their positions. Even in this case, the candidate is been scheduled for an interview even before an offer is made.

If you have a company or employer reach out to you via social media or on any platform, do well to reach the company before responding to their message. Notwithstanding, you can tell a real job from a scam in this case.

For example:

You have been invited for a job briefing/chat at street 123 . Contact xyz on 081xxxxxxxxx with Ref no. 0000.

 If you get this kind of sudden invite, then you have to be careful, because it is most likely to be a scam.

3. You are being offered a job right away

If you have been searching for a job, I am sure you know that getting a job does not come easy. The competition, the selection process, the interview, etc. you can miss landing your dream job at any stage of the process.

When you get contacted that you have been offered a job without passing through any of the stages, then that offer is most likely a scam job.

You may get a message like this:

You have been employed as a manager for ABC Global company, you can come and pick up your employment letter at 123 street…

This job poster wants to attract you with the position and an immediate offer. No legitimate company will hire you without meeting with you first to determine if you can do the job or not. Beware of these kinds of jobs.

4. No specific job requirement or description

Some fraudsters and scammers go the extra mile to make their job advert appear legitimate, but you still notice some gaps if you look closely.

These scammers will write a job requirement or description for the job, but the funny thing is the job description will be written in such a way that almost anyone can fit in smoothly.

For example:

  • You must be young (no age limit)
  • Must be able to communicate in any language (anyone can communicate at least in one language)
  • Must have access to the internet (almost everyone has internet access, plus you wouldn't have gotten their email if you did not have access to the internet).

This kind of job description is like no description at all, because the job poster did not mention anything like: Years of experience, education, skills, etc. things needed to perform the role. If it is a real job, the requirement will be more specific than general.

5. Getting an unprofessional email from a company

When a legitimate company sends you an email, you can tell from the content of the email and even form the email address. Most legitimate companies have their company domain email e.g.

Most scam companies do not want to go through the stress of creating a company domain email, they rather use the general one (maybe Gmail or Yahoomail).

Asides from the email address, while some do, many fraudulent employers don't take time to compose their emails, so you will find loads of grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors in their emails. A legitimate company will hardly send an email that is full of errors when they have staff members assigned to carry out the task.

If you get an email with these kinds of errors, then it is most likely a scam email.

For example:

The human resources have seen your CV and you have been invited for an interview by the CEO of the company. His name is Mr OJO, and this is his telephone number 081xxxxxx.

For this example, you can notice the following mistakes:

  • "human resources" (this should be Human Resources)
  • "You have been invited for an interview by the CEO of the company" (the right punctuation mark is missing in this sentence).
  • "The human resources have seen" (this should be in the past tense, the human resources has seen).

6. If you cannot find any useful information about the company online.

Most legitimate companies have websites, social media handles, and different platforms where people can reach them or get useful information about what they do.

When you search for a company online and you don't find any useful information that will give you an idea about what they do, then it may be a scam company. Some fraud companies create their website, but notwithstanding, if the information you find on their platform is scanty or does not add up then it may likely be a scam.

If you cannot seem to find the LinkedIn profile or any information about the recruiter or anyone working in that company, then it may be a scam job.

7. Getting interviewed via a messaging service

We know that we live in a digital world and things are changing fast, but there are still some boundaries. While remote interviews have become commonplace (phone and video interviews), recruiters still have to follow some basic guidelines.

If a company is asking you for an interview via a messaging/chat service, then that organization is being unprofessional. No professional organization will ask to interview you via a chat service.

So when you are asked to be interviewed via chat, then you need to do your research and look out for scam alerts.

8. If you get offered a job immediately

If you apply for a job and you are offered the job immediately, then there is a high probability that the job is a scam. Job offers don't usually come easy.

No matter how perfect your CV looks, every employer would still like to talk to you to find out if you have what you say you have on your CV.

For example:

After 30 minutes of applying for the job, you get a message like this;

"You have been employed as a manager for ABC company, come and pick up your employment letter at XYZ street."

If you get this kind of message repeatedly, then there is something fishy about the job. A legitimate company will not beg you and pester you to come to pick up your employment letter.

9. If you are asked to give out your personal information

This one of the most obvious warning signs. When an employer contacts you and asks you for personal information such as your account number, your ATM pin, or other personal information, then you should be careful.

We know that a legitimate employer can ask you to provide some personal details, but that should be when you have been given an offer or during your training period. Asking for personal information at the beginning stages of the recruitment process should be one of the fraud signs you should look out for.

For example:

"We would like you to send your account details as a candidate so that we can send you some money for the cost that you may have incurred during the interview, when you get this money deduct 5000 and then send the balance to this account number…"

10. They want you to pay for something

Some fraud companies will offer you a job, but they might come up with a condition for you to become a member of that company. It is either they ask you to pay for software or a working gadget.

These kinds of employers offer you (desperate job seeker) a job on a platter, then they introduce a condition they believe you would be able to afford because they know you would love to keep that job at any cost.

The truth is legitimate companies do not ask you for money or anything. Whatever software or gadget that you would need to perform your task would be given to you. So you have to beware if an employer is asking you for something.

For example, you might get a message like this:

"Congratulations, your interview went well and you are now a staff of ABC company. To help you work well we got you a brand new laptop, but as a part of the company culture, you would have to pay 5000 for the headset you need to function as customer support personnel. You can send the money to XYZ…"


How to protect yourself from scam jobs

One sad truth that you have to accept about the job market is that there are scam/fake jobs. Scam/fake jobs have been existing for a long time and they won't stop existing, the format may just change.

Sadly, there are fake jobs, but you know you may not be able to control things that happen, but you can control how you react to them.

Yes! There are fake jobs everywhere (you can't help it), but how do you react to them?

The best way to react or respond to the fake and scam job postings that are commonplace is to protect yourself against employment fraudsters with these tips.

1. Always research the job and company

Once you see a job advert that gets your attention, the first thing for you to do is to research the company to find out:

  • If the company exists, (you can check the CAC website to see if the company exists).
  • What they do exactly (you can simply do a google search to find the company website and read through to know what they do or sell).
  • If they have staff members working already; you need to know if the company have staff members already. Every successful company should have staff members no matter how small (you can search for the company on LinkedIn to see their staff members.
  • See reviews about the company; sometimes the best way to find out about a company is by reading what others (employees and job seekers) have written about the company. You can search for company reviews on

2. Pay attention to details 

You need to pay attention to details when you are job hunting. Most job seekers are always in a hurry to click the apply button even without reading the job description properly.

Many job seekers have reported that they got a job invite from a reputable company, only to find out later that it was a fraudulent job. The scam employer cloned a reputable company. Many times job seekers find out that the job posting is fishy by noticing small errors like:

  • Spellings
  • Punctuations
  • Typos
  • Capitalization
  • Email signature etc.

Example: A job seeker got an invite for a job that reads "…Proctor and Gamble" while the original name of the company is "Procter & Gamble". Seemingly, small errors like this can cause a difference. Don't be in a hurry to apply for a job, take the time to read the job description.

If you are applying to a large company, always check the email address that is used to communicate with you. If you apply to a large company, but contacted via a personal email address (like Gmail &Yahoo mail), then you have to be careful.

2. Don't give out money in exchange for a job

No matter how convincing a person sounds, don't ever agree to pay to get a job opportunity. No legitimate company will require you to pay some amount of money to be offered employment. Even if you are working with a recruiter to get a job don't give out your money upfront, recruiters get their money after they have successfully hired a job candidate.

Most of the time, they get this money from the company that hired them to do the job.

3. Don't give out personal information

Not giving out your personal information is another way you can protect yourself from scam jobs. Information like; your bank details, ATM pin, BVN, etc.

4. Search for job opportunities only on trusted platforms

It may not be easy for you to know all the rules there is when it comes to protecting yourself from employment "scammers", but the safest thing we recommend that you do is for you to only search for job opportunities on trusted job platforms.

Searching for opportunities on trusted platforms like saves you the time and energy of going through all the hassles of verifying every single job opportunity you come across. MyJobMag takes the time to verify every job on its platform, making it a safe place for you to search and apply for jobs.

Protecting yourself from fraudsters comes with a lot of responsibilities, but avoid being "too emotional". We understand that searching for a job can be very stressful and indeed frustrating, but don't let your emotions lead you into desperation to take the wrong route. Think things through or talk to someone you trust before making a decision.


What Should I do if I have been scammed?

If you are reading this post and unfortunately you have already been scammed by employment fraudsters, then all hope is not lost. You can take note of the topics we discussed in other sections like; how to identify scam job, how to protect yourself from scammers, etc. to avoid falling into the same trap.

Asides from these tips, you can also do the following:

Write your experience about the company on reviews website or communities so that others don't fall for their tricks.

  • Report to HR organization and Human resources professionals that are enthusiastic about job seekers.
  • Report to the original company if the fraudster cloned an existing company.
  • You can also report to the police if you have sufficient information.


Companies you should never work for in Nigeria

In this article, we have been talking about scam jobs and how to protect yourself from these kinds of jobs. The truth is that not all companies that are legitimate are a great place to work. What do we mean?

The fact that you search for a company online and you find out some information about them like; their website, social media handles, Staff members/employees, etc. This does not mean that the company is a great place to work.

If you want to make good use of your time and keep your sanity (lol.), then you should never work for companies like this:

1. Companies that have poor employee retention

It would be sad to find yourself in this kind of company after all the time and effort you have invested in acquiring skills and searching for job opportunities. How would you know if a company has poor employee retention?

One of the ways to find out is if you notice that a company advertise for open positions regularly, almost throughout the year they have vacancies for the same positions. 

So when you visit job boards take note of these kinds of companies and avoid falling into the trap their staff members ran away from.

2. Companies that stagnate the growth of their employees

Some companies don't care about the growth and development of their staff members. They are only concerned about the tasks that the employee will deliver.

Employees in these kinds of companies do not experience career or financial growth. They remain in the same position and earn the same salary for years. How do you tell that a company stagnate its employees?

When you see a job advert that captures your interest, you can simply search for the company on LinkedIn, then click on people to see the employees of that company. When you have done this, you can check their profiles and watch their growth in the company.

You can check MySalaryScale to see reviews that suggest that the company stagnate their workers.

As an individual that wants to build a successful career, growth and development are one of the things you should look out for in a prospective company.

3. Companies that have a bad reputation

Never work for a company that has a bad reputation. Don't think like this; "I don't care about what they did to others before, I am happy I have a job…".

If a company is known to do awful things to its staff members, then you would be no different. Some companies are known to do the following:

  • Owe their employees for several months.
  • Deduct from their employee salaries at every opportunity they get.
  • Enslave their employees and making them work extra without being paid for it, etc.
  • If you notice people complain about a company on social media or in communities, then you should beware of such companies.

Employment scam happens regularly, don't apply to any job out of frustration and desperation. Always check every job to prevent falling into the arms of swindlers.

We know that searching for a job comes with its challenges, and you want to get one fast. One legitimate way you can get a job fast is by completing your profile on myjobmag. Completing your profile on MyJobMag allows you to be more visible to employers searching for job candidates daily.

Ready to land your dream job? complete your profile by clicking the "complete your profile" text in the advert below. 

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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