Job scams: What to look for and how to report one

If you’ve decided to start a job search, this can be a really exciting time. Today’s job market is flourishing, with plenty of jobs available online.

However, while a digitalised world has many benefits when job searching, it also opens up some vulnerability. Much like phishing scams and identity fraud, job scams are out there, and so it’s essential to familiarise yourself with how to conduct safe browsing and handle personal information when looking for a job.

At, we use automated and manual tools to ensure every job posting is legitimate. However, we’re not the only job search tool available. Plus other sites may not use such advanced measures.

Here are the most common signs of job scams, the tricks fraudsters use to execute the cons and how to report a job scam if you think you’ve found one.

Contact details

If a job advert is a fake, there are some tell-tale signs in the contact details.

Email address

If the job belongs to a verified, official company, the end of the email address should match the company name and the company’s website. For example, CV-Library is a legitimate company, its website is, and its business email addresses end

Personal email addresses, such as or randomised email addresses, such as are a warning sign. If  someone using a seemingly made up or random email address contacts you, be aware that this could be a scam. So, you should block the sender and move the email to your junk.

If you’re unsure, Google the name associated with the email address or look for the recruiter on LinkedIn to see if the contact is genuine.

Phone number

Recruiters and employers will always use a company phone number when handling vacancies and job hunters. While the phone number on job postings is typically a landline number, many recruiters have work phones and so a mobile number may also be legitimate.

If the number on the ad looks fictitious, if you don’t recognise the area code or if it is a premium rate number, it could be a scam.

To work out if the number on the job ad is legitimate, Google the company to check its contact details. Also, look for the recruiter on the company’s website or via LinkedIn to see if there’s a mobile number you can contact.

Digital footprint

Every genuine company recognises the importance of an online presence, via a website and social media profiles, for example.

If you think you’ve come across a scam, don’t click the links in the posting or the email. Instead, hover over hyperlinks to identify the URL – the website or email address should appear next to the link or at the bottom of your browser. If it looks randomised, made up, or spammy, it’s probably a scam.

If you think the link could direct to a legitimate company, Google the domain or the company name to see what comes up in the search results. See if the organisation has any social media profiles and check online forums to work out if others have been scammed by the same advert.

Be aware that scammers are clever, and many create websites that look genuine. If something looks unsettling about the website you’ve found, insert the URL into Domain Whitepages to find out when the site was created. If it was within the last year, be wary.

No experience necessary

There are many jobs out there that require little experience. But even entry-level roles often ask for candidates with Leaving, Higher or Advanced Certificates and a handful of soft skills. Therefore, if a role is genuine, the job spec is likely to describe the position as ‘entry-level’ rather than ‘no experience necessary’.

An immediate job offer

Similarly, if you apply for a role and receive an immediate job offer, you should be wary of a job scam. It will typically take a few days for a genuine recruiter to process and respond to your application. Also, if your application is successful, you should expect a formal interview at the very least for all legitimate vacancies, as opposed to an instantaneous offer.

Urgent action

Another common sign of a job scam is a tight deadline or request to respond immediately. While genuine job adverts may state that there is an urgent need to fill the role, or something similar, they should never bribe you with urgent action.

For example, if you see a job advert that offers a high salary with no experience necessary, but requires you to send in your CV and details ASAP as this spectacular opportunity expires in 24 hours, it’s likely to be a fake.

Job scammers love to add time constraints to fake adverts. After all, it pressures people into completing an action, so be wary of this trick.

Unrealistic salaries

Job ads that are scams often offer salaries that are too good to be true. If the advert has lines like ‘you could make up to £60,000’ with no experience necessary, this should raise a red flag. Scammers insert big numbers to try and entice job hunters, especially if it’s for an entry-level position. Therefore, students are at a high risk of being targeted by this con.

Genuine job postings often feature a salary, but it’s rarely the focus of the advert. Key features should be the entry requirements, duties and responsibilities.

Poorly written job adverts

Job scams often have repeated spelling errors and instances of terrible grammar throughout the advert. They often appear as if someone threw them together in a hurry.

We’re not suggesting that all vacancies with typos are scams – after all, we’re all human and minor mistakes do happen. However, legitimate postings look professional, whereas job scams look rushed. Often, they can also appear as if they were run through a translator.

They ask for a payment

If a job posting of any kind asks a fee or payment, it’s likely to be a fake. Legitimate job adverts from genuine employers should never ask for money.

Common ways scammers ask for money in a job description include reservation or holding fees, training courses and criminal record checks by the Garda Síochána National Vetting Bureau. If a genuine job requires Garda vetting (which is essential when working with children or vulnerable adults), this will happen the company hires you. That means you shouldn’t need to pay for the vetting up front before your job interview.

They ask for private details

The only personal details required on your CV include your name, email, phone number and your location. If a job posting asks for confidential information beyond this list, you should treat it with caution.

The private details scammers typically ask for in a job advert include bank details, possibly to set up direct deposits or transfer money, and proof of ID or other personal information, which are common signs of an identity theft scam.

Note that an employer will only ask for your bank details and proof of ID once you’ve received a formal job offer and have started the new role. If a job ad requires them up front, this is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

How to report a job scam

While these are the common signs and symptoms of a job scam, fake adverts may only include some of the warning signs, so you must be vigilant. If you’re even slightly wary of a job advert, treat it with caution.

If you think you’ve found a job scam, act immediately. Start by notifying the job board, recruitment agency, company or wherever you found the scam so that they can investigate the advert.

If you have handed over bank or card details, contact your bank immediately so they can protect your data. This may involve cancelling your cards or putting a stop to your account. Also, contact your local Garda or call the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (formerly Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation) to notify them of the scam.

You can also report the job scam to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. It will build awareness of the fake advert to help others avoid the risk of a scam. is a trusted job board and we use automated and manual tools to ensure every job posting is legitimate.

Image: Pexels

About Laura Slingo

Laura Slingo is a writer, editor and digital marketing professional. She has penned hundreds of career and lifestyle articles for various sites and markets across the globe, including Salesforce and The Guardian. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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