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Recruiter or scammer? 5 ways to tell

Posted on 31st March 2022

If you're searching for a job through LinkedIn or any of the major online job boards, chances are you've got typo-laden recruitment emails promising the moon and stars but giving no details about the position or the client company whatsoever.

Some scams are easy to recognise, but recruitment scams are becoming ever more sophisticated, and it's important for job seekers to be on their guard.

So how do you protect yourself--without missing out on genuinely great opportunities? Experts recommend keeping an eye out for these five key warning signs of a scam:

1. The recruiter or job poster asks for money up front. They might call this a placement fee, processing fee, or allocation fee, among a number of other vague but official-sounding names. Legitimate recruiters make their money when companies contract with them to hire for a role--they don't need candidates to pay them money before they even get them an interview.

2. The information and communications seem hasty. Scam artists set up websites and email inboxes by the dozens overnight, and it's very difficult to hide that fact. If there are mistakes in the posting--like using multiple variations of a company's name or placing it in the wrong city--or if you get an email trying to recruit you out of the blue for a job in another city or country, it's probably a scam. When in doubt: most legitimate companies will have traceable and responsive contact information somewhere on their website.

3. It's a "work at home" position that involves transferring or processing money. Most real companies can't allow this for security reasons, and it's common for scammers to use fake virtual assistant or remote finance jobs for identity theft or even money laundering.

4. The posting promises (in fact, falls over itself to absolutely guarantee) a huge income fast, but is vague on the details of how much, when, and from what. This is one of the cruellest genres of scam because it tends to target chronically underpaid workers and cheat them out of even more money. Additionally, "buy in" direct marketing companies--while not technically or legally scams--use these tactics to get people to put a lot of time and money into a "business opportunity" that can't possibly pay the dividends they tease.

5. On that note, beware of "get rich quick"-style schemes that promise passive income for a startup fee. As a general rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

If you’re looking for a tried-and-tested recruiter who definitely won’t scam you, you can’t do better than The Maine Group. Of course, we would say that, but we think our 30-year record of excellence speaks for us. Get in touch today and check out our credentials for yourself--absolutely free.