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Is That Job For REAL!? 3 Ways To Tell

By Ashleigh, K-Staff

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You’re searching for a new job when you come across a posting on social media that seems perfect! All you have to do is front the money for training and supplies. Is it legit? Probably not!

Jobs that seem too good to be true usually are. But how can you tell the difference between a legitimate job posting and a bait posting? Location of the posting may not matter since scammers advertise jobs where legitimate employers do — online, in newspapers, and even on TV and radio. Here are three ways to tell whether a job lead may be a scam:

  1. You need to pay to get the job – They may say they’ve got a job waiting or guarantee to place you in a position. You just need to pay a fee for certification, training materials, or their expenses placing you with a company. But after you pay, the job doesn’t materialize. Employers and employment firms shouldn’t ask you to pay for the promise of a job.
  2. You need to supply your credit card or bank account information – Don’t give out your credit card or bank account information over the phone to ANY company unless you’re familiar with them and have agreed to pay for something. Anyone who has your account information can use it. And legitimate companies won’t ask for this information from a job prospect.
  3. The ad is for “previously undisclosed” federal government jobs – Information about available federal jobs is free. And all federal positions are announced to the public on usajobs.gov. Don’t believe anyone who promises you a federal or postal job.


Still not sure if you’re looking at a legitimate job offer? Check for complaints!

Your local consumer protection agencystate Attorney General’s Office, and the Better Business Bureau can tell you whether any complaints have been filed about a company. Just keep in mind that a lack of complaints doesn’t mean the business is on the up-and-up. You may want to do an internet search with the name of the company and words like review, scam, or complaint. Look through several pages of search results. And check out articles about the company in newspapers, magazines, or online, as well.

Search in the Right Places

You’ve read the many resume and interview tips from respected sources available for free online and scoured online job boards and newspaper classifieds. Some other places to look for leads in your job search include:

  • CareerOneStop – Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop lists hundreds of thousands of jobs. It also links to employment and training programs in each state, including programs for people with disabilities, minorities, older workers, veterans, welfare recipients, and young people. For federal jobs, all open federal positions are announced to the public on usajobs.gov.
  • State and county offices – Your state’s Department of Labor may have job listings or be able to point you to local job offices that offer counseling and referrals. Local and county human resources offices provide some placement assistance, too. They can give you the names of other groups that may be helpful, such as labor unions or federally-funded vocational programs.
  • College career service offices – Whether it’s a four-year university or community college, see what help yours can offer. If you’re not a current or former student, some still may let you look at their job listings.


If you’ve been targeted by a job scam, file a complaint with the FTC.

For problems with an employment-service firm, contact the appropriate state licensing board (if these firms must be licensed in your state), your state Attorney General, and your local consumer protection agency.

To learn about credit and background checks when you’re looking for a job, read What to Know When You Look For a Job.

And remember: if it sounds too good to be true? It probably is. Happy (job) hunting!

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