10 tips for avoiding job market scams
The irony is, this exact attitude is what makes the job market a perfect playground for various frauds. The real purpose of scams masquerading as job opportunities is to obtain from you sensitive personal information or money by providing little more than empty promises.
How can you protect yourself? How do you tell a genuine job posting from a scam? Here are some advises that could help you avoid possible fraud:
- Walk away from any "job" that requires that you use your own bank account to perform business transactions.
- Never disclose your social insurance number, date and place of birth, bank account details, or credit card numbers in the recruitment process. A real employer or recruiter has no legitimate need for this information until you are employed, but it is very valuable to scammers.
- Refuse to deal with "employers" whom you cannot meet in person. Steer away from anyone telling you that they are a foreign company that doesn't have a local office but is looking to hire locally. Bear in mind that a company that is not registered in Canada cannot employ you here. At best, you will be an independent supplier and not an employee of the foreign company: Your situation will not be regulated by Canadian employment legislation, you will be on your own if you have difficulties collecting the money for your work, and your contract may not be enforceable in Canadian courts of law.
- Walk away from anyone requiring money to get you a job, regardless of how they justify their request. Such payments can be called training fees, service fees, licensing fees, or even administrative charges. Bear in mind that in Canada, professional recruiters are generally hired and paid by the employer and not by the job seeker.
- Stay away from job postings containing no specific information about who placed the ad, or about the job requirements. Real employers avoid unspecific ads because they generate a high number of unqualified applications: But unspecific ads serve perfectly the needs of those who are "fishing" for fraud victims or simply want to add your resume to their database.
- Beware "work from home" ads. Bear in mind that, although some work from home ads are genuine, most scams on the job market are disguised as such "jobs" because this format allows scammers to avoid disclosing their full identity to you.
- Walk away from "employers" who avoid making specific commitments about wage, salary, or commission in the interview process. It is common for employers to not include salary information in their posting and ask for your expectations, but an honest employer knows that salary negotiations are integral part of the recruitment process.
- Before providing services, make sure that you or the person who hires you have documented in writing the fact that you are being hired, and the terms that you have agreed upon. Make sure that it is clear whether you are an employee or a contractor, what compensation you will receive, and when it will be paid.
- Beware of anyone offering cash payments with no paper trail for your work. Such "deals" are very difficult or even impossible to enforce, and are often used as a "bait" by dishonest individuals who have no intention to pay you at all.
- It is a good idea to do an Internet search for the name of the company that is interested in you. If the company has a web site, compare the address and phone numbers listed there with those that have been provided to you. If the web site does not provide contact information, or if the contact information on the web site is different from the contact information given to you, this may be a warning sign that something is wrong. Bear in mind that scammers often use the names of real companies whom they have nothing to do with as a way to gain credibility.
Finally, although following these principles will help you to avoid most scams, you should always be vigilant and use common sense when deciding whether or not to consider a specific job opportunity. Unfortunately, fraudsters come up with new schemes very often, and your common sense is your best protection against becoming a victim of one of them.
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