Protect Yourself from These 12 Common Job Scams

May 28, 2024
The hands of a man wearing a gray plaid suit, a white shirt and a watch with a brown leather strap are shown as he types on the keyboard of a black laptop.

Online scams related to job postings are growing. It’s important to know how to protect yourself against these kinds of scams. In this article, you’ll learn about several online job scams and what you can do to avoid them.

Job scams over the years

Online job scams are becoming more common every year. “The Federal Trade Commission reports that unsuspecting job seekers lost $68 million due to fake business and job opportunities.” The best defense against these scams is understanding how to avoid them. [1]

12 common types of job scams

1. Fake job postings

The first tip that an online posting may not be real is the company website address. Job scammers will create an address that’s slightly different from the real company. For example, if the legitimate company uses, the scammer might create Scammers will take images from the real company to create websites and social media accounts to make them seem legit. When in doubt, do some diligent research on the company and visit the company’s career section directly to see if the job posting exists. [2]

2. Requests for financial payments or personal bank account information

If you notice a request for personal or financial information on a job posting, it’s an instant red flag. Phishing communication often looks like it comes from a trusted source. Scammers use texts, emails, online ads and phone calls to attempt to gain information. For example, if a job posting requires you to click on a link or wants to collect sensitive information, it’s may be a scam. If a “company” is requesting social security and banking information before a job offer is made, avoid it at all costs. Instead, contact the company directly via a legitimate website. [2]

3. Envelope stuffing at home

Getting paid for stuffing envelopes at home seems too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. First, the envelop-stuffing-job-requester will ask you to submit a small payment for the supplies. You won’t actually receive supplies but instead be told the job is actually about recruiting others to pay the same upfront nonrefundable fee. If a company needs money upfront, it’s probably a scam. [3]

4. Communications via email, online chatting , and social media

Be wary of job communication and interviewing that’s done entirely online via online chatting, social channels or email. Scammers like to use instant messaging services to create fake job interviews. Legitimate companies won’t do this. If you are asked to take part in a job interview via a chat channel, try requesting a call instead. Also, research the company on your own to verify the opportunity is legitimate. [3]

5. Shipping scams

Another work-from-home job scam is shipping or reshipping. It involves receiving items, removing the receipts, repackaging them and shipping items out. The job seeker is told they will be reimbursed for the shipping, but victims never get a paycheck. Even worse, these items can potentially be stolen. [3]

6. Offering career advancement grants

Scammers send emails encouraging people to apply for government grants that can be used for education or professional development. The email contains “application links” the scammers want you to click on to obtain personal information. The email may even mention direct deposit possibilities once your application is approved, but when they have your bank account information, they can scam you. [4]

7. Illegitimate presence of company information

In today’s interconnected world, almost all legitimate companies have a robust online presence, including a website and social media accounts. Thus, if you get an email about your dream job, but you can’t verify company information through online channels, it’s probably a scam. Don’t apply! [2]

8. Purchasing work-from-home equipment

If you’re offered a remote job but told you must buy work equipment upfront from the hiring company, it’s a scam. Typically, a fake employer will tell you that you’ll be reimbursed for the mandatory office equipment, but the payback never comes. Real companies won’t ask you to buy your own home office equipment before being onboarded and starting a job. [4]

9. Job offer email or message

Another common job scam involves a fake job offer sent via email. The scammer may mention that you applied for this job, even if you didn’t, or they got your resume from a job board. Next, they’ll request sensitive information such as your bank account or driver’s license number. This can lead to stolen money or identity theft. Don’t respond to unsolicited job offers. [3]

10. Offering high-paying jobs

There are many high-paying jobs posted online that turn out to be scams, including mystery shoppers, data entry and more. If you’re asked to pay for training, provide bank account information or if you see a job that pays significantly above market average, it’s likely fake. Verify through your own research if it’s a legitimate company before you proceed. [4]

11. Remote jobs in assembling crafts and products

Wouldn’t it be great to get paid for doing craft projects? This scam is advertised as a remote project assembly opportunity, but the job seeker is asked to buy craft supplies and pay for an enrollment fee upfront. The fake companies then reject the finished product, even if it matches the initial project example, and the job seeker doesn’t get paid. Avoid job opportunities that ask for fees upfront. [2]

12. Selling luxury goods

Most people love the idea of having a side income and scammers are counting on this. Candidates are contacted about an opportunity to buy luxury goods at a discount to resell for profit. The job seeker pays for the inventory but never receives the products. Do your research before paying upfront for anything. [4]

Warning signs for how to know if a job alert is a scam

There are additional questions to consider when determining whether the job posting is legitimate:

  • Are the communications you’re receiving professional and free of grammatical errors?
  • Are the job details vague or missing altogether?
  • If the salary seems unusually high or the potential employer says you’ll get rich quickly, be sure to research the company and their compensation system to validate this information.
  • Lastly, if you receive a job offer immediately, without having an interview or a conversation with a hiring manager, it should be a red flag.

Be sure you understand these warning signs so you can better ascertain whether a job is real or not. [5]

How to report job scams

If you realize you are a victim of a job scam, what should you do next? First, reach out to your bank in case your account information was compromised. Next, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at Also, contact your state attorney general. In addition, consider credit monitoring services. [4]

Learn more about finding a job

Finding a job can take time, patience and persistence. Now that you’re aware of the types of job-posting scams that exist, you can feel more confident in your search for legitimate jobs. Read our job resources content if you’re looking for more job-related articles and information.


[1] “Fake Jobs Are Becoming More Common — Here’s How To Protect Yourself,” Jack Kelly, (Accessed March 2024)

[2] “20 Common Job Search Scams and How to Protect Yourself,” Jessica Howington, (Accessed March 2024)

[3] “5+ Common Job Scams in 2024 [& How to Avoid Them],” (Accessed March 2024)

[4] “17 Common Job Scams and How to Protect Yourself,” Kate Palmquist, (Accessed March 2024)

[5] “10 Signs a Job Posting Might Be a Scam,” (Accessed March 2024)


The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle and Nationwide is on your side are services marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2024 Nationwide

  • Family & Life