As a recruiter, I work with job seekers every day, and I’m passionate about helping them find the right opportunities. But there’s been more talk lately about the increasing number of fake job posts that are out there. These scams can be damaging, leading to identity theft, financial loss, or worse. I want to share some tips I’ve gathered to help spot these fraudulent posts and stay safe while looking for a new job.

There are two different kinds of fake job posts. The first is typically a company or internal recruiter trying to build a candidate list for their database; perhaps building a list for the future. This is frustrating, bordering on a lack of integrity, and gives false hope to any serious jobseeker.

The second is more serious and is often a well-crafted deception that can take place over a matter of days or weeks with bad actors ultimately trying to get your personal information (e.g., job application) or money.

Here’s what you can do to eliminate the chance of falling for either scam:

  • Research the Company:

Even if you’ve heard of the company, the first thing I recommend is researching their website to ensure you’re applying to a legitimate posting. If you’re not familiar with a company’s name, and there’s no website or if it looks hastily put together, that’s a red flag. As a recruiter, I have already vetted all clients to ensure that the company is legit and the searches I’m working on are real and current. Be wary of links that don’t include the company’s domain or are modified in some way to look real but in fact direct to a website that probably looks close to the company’s original site but is really a fake.

  • Verify the Contact Information:

The scammers could be using the actual names of company employees, but they often use generic email addresses like Gmail or Yahoo. A reputable company should have a corporate email domain, such as If you see that the contact information doesn’t list a phone number or uses a free email service, proceed with caution.

  • Examine the Job Description:

Job posts should include specific details about the role, the responsibilities, and information about the company itself. Fake job posts tend to be vague, with promises of high pay for minimal work or other too-good-to-be-true offers. A genuine employer or recruiter provides clear job expectations and compensation details. If a post seems off or uses unusual language, steer clear.

  • Be Wary of Upfront Payments:

As a recruiter, I know that no legitimate employer will ask you to pay anything upfront. If a job post requires you to pay for training, equipment, or background checks, it’s likely a scam. A reputable company will cover these costs. If you see a post that asks for money before you start work, that’s a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.

  • Trust Your Instincts:

One thing I’ve learned in my career is to trust my instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to get you to act quickly without thinking. If you feel uncomfortable or rushed, take a step back and investigate further. It’s better to be cautious than fall victim to a scam.

  • Due Diligence:

Unfortunately, in these times, there are a lot of people out there trying to separate you from your money or are not being truthful. Remember, your safety is the most important thing, so take your time and be cautious.

Finally, I am proud to say that in nearly 20 years of recruiting, I have had the benefit of representing some of the best companies in my industry and have never fallen for questionable-sounding searches. I am also proud of the fact that I have never posted a fake job ad for any reason. It’s all about morals and ethics: if I was on the other side of the job hunt, I’d hate for someone to deceive me with the promise of a (non-existent) position.

Find a great-sounding job posting, make sure it’s legit and go for it!