Fake job alert! Check out these signs to spot a fake recruiter

“Earn Rs 45,000 every month for data entry job, while working from home” — you must have seen a message similar to this pop up in your WhatsApp chat not that long ago. In some cases, people claiming to be representatives of companies contact you from international phone numbers and seek your attention with exciting offers, sometimes assuring you payment in dollars for simple tasks. However, the moment you send your bank account details for the money transfer, you end up losing a huge chunk of your hard-earned savings. Only then will it dawn on you that it was nothing but a well-planned cybercrime.

According to a report by The Times of India, “Over 30,000 people were defrauded of Rs 200 crore after being offered work-from-home jobs with major e-commerce websites.”

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In the present-day digital landscape, it has become absolutely effortless to search and apply for job vacancies, right? Having said that, in the hopes of landing the job of our dreams, sometimes we become oblivious to potential signs of fake job offers. While it is not new to encounter false job postings online, their occurrence sure has multiplied in recent times.

But the question is how to differentiate between an authentic and a fake offer? How do we know that we are not accidentally declining an incredible job opportunity?

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We have listed a few signs that you can check out to prevent yourself from getting phished.

1) You received a job offer out of nowhere – Receiving a job offer from a company you never applied to is in itself a clear warning sign. Sure, recruiters can easily find the contact details of job seekers online, but being offered a position without having to go through several rounds of interviews is most definitely a scam. If the first message from the person offering the job is about the money you would get, you must immediately do a background check for authenticity.

The person contacting you might say they found your resume on an authentic job portal such as LinkedIn, TimesJobs or Indeed. You might even have created a profile on such sites. So this situation can be a little tricky to navigate. To check the authenticity of the offer, ask for the company’s website or the location of its physical office.

2) The post has grammatical errors and typos – A lot of job fraud victims admit to receiving emails or texts that were not framed properly. They had multiple grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors, and the tone seemed off in general. Of course, even a legitimate job offer can have a typo or two, but it usually carries a properly listed job description, skill requirements and other crucial details. Here we are talking about a job offer where you can hardly make sense out of the sentences. It might feel as if the writer or scammer was in a hurry to persuade you.

3) Lack of online presence or an invalid URL – In today’s digital environment, even age-old companies are embracing online presence. So it is odd if you can’t find an organisation online.

Let’s say a company approached you with an offer. To check its credibility, you decided to do a Google search. But the results suggest an error in the name or offer a list of similar-sounding companies. If this happens to you, it is almost always safe to decline the offer.

Similarly, if the URL provided by the company isn’t working or is taking you to a random page, consider it as a cue to block that recruiter.

1) The posting states “anyone can apply, no experience needed” – A lot of fake job offers do not demand extensive education and experience requirements. To attract as many people as possible, especially school pass-outs and fresh graduates, scammers keep their criteria to the bare minimum. They know that by proposing a high salary for entry-level jobs, they can easily trap hundreds of individuals struggling to get hired, especially during a season of economic slowdown and mass layoffs.

2) The caller is demanding money to proceed – Is the caller asking for money instead of paying you? There is something seriously fishy.

If the recruiter is requesting you to pay a certain sum of money as a security deposit or to just participate in the interview process, don’t waste your time: Ignore such texts. No renowned company will ever ask you to pay money to join them.

There is another scenario. You may come across many scammers who might ask you to transfer some money to take up a task, and will also ensure an amount double of what you are asked to transfer after the completion. Doing so will only make you enter a vicious cycle of paying money for each task and not receiving anything in return.

3) The caller is asking for personal details – If more than your skills, the recruiter is interested in your bank account details and your financial status, do not engage with them any further. Companies usually ask your bank account details only after you join the organisation; never before that. Only con artists would be eager to get their hands on such crucial pieces of information so that they can run away with your money.

So, the next time you see a job offer, scan for such signs and take every measure possible to evaluate its authenticity before accepting it.

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