Scammers' intelligence is growing exponentially and nobody is safe from their activities. While it's common to hear about less tech-savvy people losing out, there are also plenty of examples of even the most cautious organizations being caught off-guard. In 2019 alone, multiple Canadian municipalities got stung. TheCity of Ottawa lost $128K, the City of Burlington was out $503K and Saskatoon lost $1 million! Scams can have devasting effects, from losing lifesavings to having your entire identity stolen, and they come in multiple forms. As a job seeker, it's especially important to remain vigilant when applying for jobs, as thieves can steal your personal information and destroy your world before you can blink. There are a number of these types of scams floating around the internet and, while fewer target IT contract job opportunities specifically, it's still wise to recognize these warning signs:
A job posting or email looks extremely unprofessional, with too many errors or using a free email address (ex. Gmail or Yahoo).
You get contacted about a job to which you don't remember ever applying, or even uploading your resume to where the recruiter claims they found it.
The recruiter asks for your personal information way too early in the job application process
You're required to pay money up-front just to be considered.
The hiring manager offers you the job almost immediately, after just a few emails and a glance at your resume.
The job opportunity is too good to be true.
Many of these postings may still be legitimate. Recruiters have creative ways to find resumes of talented people, so it is not uncommon for them to contact you about a job, right out of the blue. It just means they're impressed by your experience and want to learn more. In other cases, a job opportunity might appear to be unprofessional because the poster is inexperienced or in a rush (a sign that you can bring them value!) When a job posting has too many red flags or your gut just isn't feeling right about it, do not apply. But, if you are interested and believe itcould be something great, here are some extra steps you can take:
Review the LinkedIn profile of the person or company who posted the job to see their experience and connections.
Check the URL of the job posting and confirm it is actually with the company the say they are. Look for weird spellings like "Gogle" instead of "Google" or somebody creating false subdomain like "eagleonline.supergreatjobs.co. Just because their logo is visible, it doesn't make the website real.
Go directly to the organization's website that you know is legitimate by typing in the URL directly or through a Google Search. Review that website to see if the job in question is actually posted and look for a physical address to cross-reference on a map.
Pick up the phone or show up at their office to speak to the recruiter directly. It's too easy to be duped through email or instant messaging.
Canada's Anti-Fraud Centre provides more information about common job scams, as well as all other types of fraudulent activities. For more information or to report a scam, that is a great place to start. Happy job hunting... be careful out there!