Anyone can build a reliable-looking website and write great listing copy nowadays. How do you know that the remote job listing website you're looking at is offering legitimate opportunities?
When talking to our clients about remote job listing sites, one question always seems to come up. That question is: " How can I tell if a remote work listing is legit or not?" After all, if you're planning to apply to open listings you are in some ways taking a risk with your personal information.
Cybercrime and identity fraud are significant issues affecting people on the internet today, and criminals often make use of bogus job listings to collect personal or financial information for nefarious purposes. If they aren't collecting information, they may be luring people into money laundering schemes or MLM-type businesses with predatory practices. This is an outcome that can have serious repercussions that are difficult to recover from.
The best way to avoid being in this situation at all is to do some due diligence and ensure the listing that you are busy looking at is a real opportunity from a real remote work company.
In this post, we will go over some of the best ways to pre-vet remote work websites. Keep reading to learn how to vet job listings for legitimacy:
Illegitimate Job Listings Are On The Rise
Everyone has at some point applied for a remote listing they weren't sure was legitimate, or that looked 100% authentic only to be a complete scam. Since 2019, the number of fraudulent listings has gone up exponentially according to research conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and with work from home jobs becoming more common due to COVID-19 it's safe to say that this year will be on track for even more false listings.
Scammers use the same strategy to lure in prospective job applicants, but their level of involvement can vary. Some fake listings are simply collecting data in the form of your personal information sent via your CV and application cover letter. Others have more depth, leading to actual interviews that seem 100% real, making it even harder for the applicant to spot that something about the process is off.
A recent article by Fortune noted that Fortune 500 companies were inundated with candidates insisting that they had been interviewed and hired by someone working there when in reality the company has no record of that person or the interview process at all. This is a story that is becoming all too common in today's work environment.
How Scammers Lure Remote Work Hopefuls
The fact of the matter is that scammers know that if you are looking for work, you may be more likely to take a leap of faith instead of taking a closer look at the facts. They prey on the vulnerability that comes from being in the job-hunting process, and the candidates that fall for it are usually the ones that can afford it the least.
By creating attractive and incentivizing listings targeting less experienced remote workers, scammers benefit from the fact that these workers are unlikely to know about all the pitfalls of applying to online listings. That is why these listings will have incentivizing descriptions like "NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NEEDED", "Make $$$$ a week!" and other exciting phrases that convince the applicant to send through their information.
There is another layer to this scam to be aware of. Since these fraudulent listings target remote work specifically, they get access to a global pool of candidates that they can trick into providing their information. By changing up who they target and where they can keep this scheme going for as long as they want, even using the information they have gathered to fool others. Your stolen identity may be used to do the same thing to others.
Recognizing When A Remote Work Listing Is Fake
Now that we've covered the bad news, it's time to get to the good news. There are a variety of ways that prospective remote workers can pre-vet listings and companies for legitimacy prior to actually applying.
Before we go deeper into the characteristic signs of fraudulent listings, it's important to remember the old adage: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Ask yourself if the listing makes rational sense. Is a Fortune 500 company advertising for someone with no prior experience but offering high pay? This is an unlikely outcome. If two and two together don't make four, it's better to move on to the next listing. Don't ignore your gut feeling.
With that being said, these are the top ways to spot a fake remote listing on the wild web:
- They want you to pay something along with your job application. No legitimate online work opportunity will ask you for money or your credit card information when you are applying to work for them. Scammers will tell you that your application needs to be accompanied by some sort of administration or processing fee and that you'll get this money back with your first paycheck. Don't fall for it.
- They use a non-company email or the web address is missing a security certificate. If you are working with a real hiring manager or recruiter, they will have an email address that is "email@example.com". If the email address has additional characters or is a personal gmail address, take it as a red flag. The same goes for the web address. The majority of legitimate websites have an "https://" precursor to their website - beware of sites that only have "http://" in front of their URL.
- They have a spotty online record. Legitimate remote work companies will have social media profiles and be covered in the media. You should be taking the time to research these profiles and confirm the company you are dealing with has an existing track record. Use LinkedIn to look up the company's hiring manager and ensure you are dealing with a real person. Don't be scared to give the company a call, send them a direct email or social media message and ask them to confirm the listing details.
When in doubt, you can refer to this handy flowchart from Desk To Remote:
Other Ways To Avoid Fake Remote Work Listings
One of the most effective ways to avoid fake remote work listings is to work with a professional remote work recruiter. These recruiters are exposed to fraudulent listings and real remote work companies all the time, making them experts in differentiating between real and false opportunities online. They can catch these listings before they even make their way into your inbox.
With Desk To Remote, pre-vetting of remote companies goes one step further. Remote work hopefuls working with D2R can get access to pre-vetted job listings canvassed based on their requirements and previous experience. Besides following the steps listed above with additional internal processes to ensure only legitimate and suitable listings are applied to, Desk To Remote has an internal database of remote work companies that are highly trustworthy and successful.
As a result, Desk To Remote clients can skip out on the above steps altogether and jump straight into applications and interviews without having to worry about getting their identity stolen. Just take a look at our testimonals if you don't believe us!
Interested receiving in pre-vetted listings of your own? Contact Desk To Remote to get started today.