Red flags to watch out for when looking for a job

Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 9:21 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - If you are not careful, you can fall victim to a job scam. Julie Wheeler, President of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia, said if a job reaches out to you, be mindful of how they reached out.

“Look at how you were contacted, if you are contacted on social media or on an email that was completely unsolicited that is a pretty good sign,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said if they talk a lot about how much they are going to pay you but not about specifically what you will be doing is a red flag.

“If it seems like you are not going to have to do too much or the terms of it are easy and it you are going to make a lot of money, again. that is a pretty big red flag,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said fake job postings can be up on sites like LinkedIn or Indeed. There is not a whole lot of screening that takes place, so until somebody reports it, people will think it is real, Wheeler added.

“Do your homework find out about the company if you can find information on the company. Do searches and search the company name and scam and see if anything pops,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said you should be wary about giving out your personal information, unless you have made sure the company is legitimate. She added, some scams may use look-a-like company names or use a real company names.

If you are applying for a remote job, Wheeler said to still check to make sure the company has a real physical address. She added that fake company’s will try to make a false Gmail account using a real company’s name.

“The key is researching the company, make sure you find out that the company actually exists,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said around 8% of websites are fake, and you can do reverse searches on images, and on sentences to see if they come up.

Wheeler said a lot of times what they do, is copy things off of legitimate sites.

“See when the website originated, see what country the website originated, a lot of these are out of the country, that is a big reg flag as well. Then look at the footer and the contact information, and look up the physical address on a map app,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said 18 to 24-year-olds tend to most likely to fall victim to job scams.

Jennifer Nelson, Director of Career Development for Bridgewater College, said while she has not personally seen a student fall victim to a job scam, it can happen.

“I think these folks will prey on students especially because as you are older and you have more experience doing job searches so you know what a real interview process looks like, A student has not had this experience,” said Nelson.

Nelson said Bridgewater College uses Handshake, for students to apply for jobs.

“That allows to approve every single job that we give access to our students, so we are able to check if they have a professional looking website that really describes their organization and it looks like a legitimate company,” said Nelson.

She said if you feel uncomfortable during a job process, you should end it.

“Your instincts are important and they are going to provide you a way to spot some of those red flags,” said Nelson.

Nelson said to be aware of the person you are speaking with and the personal information you are giving out.

“A lot of these things can be avoided if you are using common sense,” said Nelson.

If you are in a situation where you have been scammed, Wheeler said to report it through the scam tracker on