Beware of the biggest remote job scams


AI and imposter scams are the biggest threats to the online job search

Job scams aren’t anything new for consumers, but as we have reported, they are getting more advanced and more dangerous. 

A special subset of these scams is especially concerning -- the promise of a remote job that is really just a scheme to steal your money, your identity -- or both.

To help alert remote job-seekers to the threats that are out there, FlexJobs has shared some of the most common remote job scams, as well as ways for consumers to stay safe while on the job hunt. 

Most common remote job scams

As scammers get savvier and technology becomes more advanced, it’s crucial for job-seekers to know the warning signs of a potential remote job scam. FlexJobs’ top 10 remote job scams include: 

  • AI-generated jobs and companies

  • Crypto exchanges and Ponzi schemes

  • Imposter scams

  • Fake URLs, photos, and company names

  • Stealing personal financial information

  • Social media recruiting

  • Lacking verifiable information

  • Phishing scams

  • Invites or mentions in Google Doc

  • Scams that ask users to pay for remote work equipment

“In terms of remote job scams, I would argue that the amount of concern increases or decreases based on the level of believability of the scam,” Spencer told ConsumerAffairs.

“More sophisticated scams, like AI-generated job postings, posing as a legitimate company or job board, and phishing attempts through text messages or social media platforms are some of the most believable and easiest scams for consumers to fall victim to, making them some of the most concerning scams that we’ve seen in recent years."

Staying safe in the face of scammers

Despite the prevalence of scams, consumers can stay safe while they’re looking for remote jobs. 

“Some of the biggest warning signs that consumers should pay attention to include upfront requests for sensitive personal information; unsolicited, immediate, or unrealistic job offers; vague job descriptions; job postings filled with grammatical errors; requests for an ‘application fee;’ no interview at all, or solely text-based interviews where you never meet with a live person; email addresses not associated with a company domain; lack of verifiable company information; and an overarching pressure to act quickly to accept an offer, provide information, or click a suspicious link,” Spencer said.

“One of these, alone, might not guarantee that you’ve encountered a scam, but it should raise your level of caution and prompt you to do some extra digging.” 

Spencer explained that many of the scams included in the list feature these characteristics, highlighting the importance of applicants staying vigilant and doing their research while job hunting. 

“It’s always important to exercise an extra sense of caution and do your due diligence when it comes to vetting remote job postings or interacting with someone claiming to be a recruiter or hiring manager,” Spencer said. “To stay safe, consumers should aim to use secure and reputable job search websites, conduct additional research to verify that the posting, company, or recruiter is legitimate, and educate themselves on potential warning signs and red flags of remote job scams.” 

It’s better to walk away

Spencer’s final piece of wisdom: don’t be afraid to walk away from a job if you can’t be certain it’s a legitimate offer. 

“Scammers will likely continue ramping up their efforts to target remote job seekers in the future, so make sure you are regularly educating yourself on new and common scam tactics, doing your research and due diligence with each potential job opening to protect yourself from scammers, and reporting fraudulent activity to the FTC,” he said. “When in doubt, remind yourself that it’s better to walk away than to find out the hard way that a job offer was actually a scam.” 

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