Jul 19, 2023 8:00:00 AM | Expert Tips to Dodge Employment Scams & Safeguard Your Career

Learn How to Protect Your Career & Identity: Stay Vigilant Against Job Scams - Learn Essential Tips to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams in Employment.

Employment and job search scams are on the rise. It is essential to be able to recognize phishing scams and be vigilant and aware when you receive emails and communications from companies asking you to interview or for your personal information. Job searches and applications for positions are usually conducted almost 100% online, and it has become easier for criminals to infiltrate job boards.


Scammers are posing as legitimate companies or hiring managers and it can be difficult to decipher if a communication is real or is a scam. These scammers are cunning, Their ultimate goal? To exploit your trust and gain access to sensitive data, putting your identity and finances at risk.

We have put together a list of the top employment phishing scams used and essential tips to safeguard yourself. 

Tips to avoid employment scams:

Using text messages and instant messenger for interviews is prevalent in scamming operations.

If a recruiter or employer asks you to interview via text message or instant messenger, you should be skeptical. Genuine job interviews involve direct interaction with the interviewer and are almost always conducted via the phone, in person, or via Zoom. If you are being asked to interview without actually speaking to a person, it is likely a scam.

Always use good common sense and critical thinking. 

With employment scams being so prevalent, it is crucial that you do your research. Research a company before you apply. If you get a communication from a prospective employer that does not seem real, trust your judgment and look into this further before you reply. Scamming operations are becoming more frequent and less obvious. The people that scam tend to go after the most vulnerable people, such as those looking for employment. Trust your instincts and know it is always appropriate to ask questions, even if it is a legitimate job interview or offer. 

Look for misspellings, odd or choppy sentences, or unprofessional communications.

Scammers will often reach out via email posing as an employer, hiring manager, or recruiter offering an interview or offering a position. Pay attention to how the email is formatted. Misspellings or incorrect grammar are common with scam communications. Real recruiters and hiring managers would not use incorrect grammar and always use a professional signature, which you often see missing in scam emails. Scammers will often use the real names of hiring managers and recruiters that they find on Linkedin or the company website and pretend to be these people.

Check the URL and website of the hiring company.

Scammers will often steal the logo or company website from a legitimate company. When getting an email from a company, take a look at the website information where the email is coming from. Often the prefix or URL will be "off" and will not end in .edu, .com, .gov or .net, but rather a domain that is obscure or is not real, for instance, or It will not be the actual email address of the company that it is trying to pose as and if you try to pull up the URL, it will often not lead to the company's website. This is a prime indicator of a phishing scam. 

Do not give personal information before an interview.

Employers have your resume so they should have all of the pertinent info that they will need to conduct an interview. Never provide your birth certificate, social security number, or bank account information during the interview or application process. If you are hired by a legitimate company, you will work with their Human Resources department to provide the documents needed and this will only be after you have interviewed and have spoken to the hiring manager, signed an offer letter, and determined that this is indeed a legitimate position. 

a button to schedule a time to talk about a job with career services


Never make a payment for an application or interview.

You should never make a payment to apply for a position or to interview for a position. Many scammers will act like they are contacting you from a government agency that requires a fee. An actual government agency position will never ask you for payment to complete a job application. Remember, scammers' primary objective is getting access to bank account information from the victim, or getting a payment that the victim may not be able to reverse. Do not fall for the trap!

Avoid installing any new software.

Scammers will try to gain access to your personal information by gaining access to your computer or phone. They will pose as an employer and ask you to download software. Never download new software to your computer that you don't already have downloaded (such as Zoom). 

Be careful of unsolicited career consultants or recruiters.

Always do your research if you are contacted by a recruiter unsolicited. Some recruiters do find candidates on Linkedin and other job boards. Still, scammers can pose as these recruiters and offer job opportunities or career consulting for a fee. It is a good practice to find the recruiter on Linkedin and reach out to them to ensure that this is a real opportunity and never give anyone that reaches out to your credit card information. Always look for professionalism, signatures, and formatting in this communication. 

Be wary of lucrative or “work from home” offers.

While there may be legitimate work-from-home offers available, be sure to search for these positions and apply on credible job boards. Always research the company to ensure it is legitimate and be wary of emails or calls that seem to offer "too good to be true" salaries or jobs. Many scams come from "work from home” postings. If a position is leading with how much the salary is and seems disproportionate to the job, this may be a scam. Most legitimate positions will promote the position as "remote" versus “work from home." 

Follow your dreams

Your dream job is out there, waiting for you to seize it. Don't let scammers undermine your aspirations and compromise your security. Join us in a more informed job search journey. Let's take charge of our futures and outsmart those who seek to take advantage of our ambitions!

Felicia Royce, BS, MS, LMT

Written By: Felicia Royce, BS, MS, LMT

Felicia rejoined ACHS in December 2022 after a brief hiatus to pursue her education in massage therapy. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and still resides near Portland, Oregon. Felicia brings over ten years of higher education experience to ACHS and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, and a Graduate degree in Psychology. Felicia is also a Licensed Massage Therapist and business owner. She is passionate about holistic health and loves to guide students through career exploration and planning so that they can take their knowledge out into the world! When Felicia is not assisting students with their career goals, she loves to spend time with her family and friends. She is an avid trail runner and is actively involved in her local running community. Felicia also loves to hike, travel, and recreate outdoors.