With the spread of COVID-19, many people lost their office jobs and will be looking for remote opportunities. It is quite easy to fall prey to internet scammers who want to exploit that. There are trivial scams and those that are pretty elaborate. Here is a list of most trivial online scam types you need to be aware of when looking for an online job.

Email and social media spam. Messages promising instant and large earnings. They can be phishing attempts as well aimed at stealing your account credentials. Beware of the risk when you open these kinds of messages and if you are sure they are spam, send them directly to your spam folder resisting the temptation to peek inside.

Invitation to interviews with no application. If your resume is publicly accessible with your email or other contact information visible, you might see spam messages inviting you to interview for a job that you haven’t applied for. It’s really important to avoid posting your contact information publicly and to keep track of the positions you apply for. For this, you can use a free Trello job board that I used myself https://trello.com/b/wR6XNXOL/job-search-modified.

Money deposits or requests. Non-trustworthy online broker services like playing with this kind of offers, they promise you over 450% yield or more which sounds really tempting. Remember any upfront payments, deposits etc. are a solid red flag to alarm your consciousness. If their promises were true and so easy, we would have all become billionaires long ago.

No contractor agreement. Trying to convince you to trust them without signing a contractor agreement or if they have come up with some kind of excuse like “you not having work permit in the country”, “additional taxes”, etc. Having no contract or other legit evidence of the terms of collaboration you risk not getting paid. This is a major red flag. Even having no legal work permit for the country where the company is registered, you can always sign an individual contractor agreement. Have a lawyer read through the contract terms to identify possible pitfalls. Feel confident to negotiate the terms if you have any concerns.

Rushing and urgency. Some scammers will rush you into agreeing to work with them, using urgency as an excuse for not having any contract, terms signed, etc. When seeing urgency on the customer end can be signaling of bad planning and management on their end. Consider if you even want to work with this kind of professionals.

Not googlable or hardly googlable. When considering a company to work with, google their company name or the CEO’s/HR’s name and try to investigate their background. Try finding their website, blog, twitter, some sort of digital evidence of the business being legit. If you can’t find anything, maybe it is worth asking them directly why? and consider them with more precaution.

Not googlable doesn’t always mean a scam. Not finding any evidence of their digital existence in the state business registry database or in social media doesn’t necessarily mean that they are scammers. Many young startups might avoid publicity to prevent unneeded attention, competition, and risks of being hacked, especially if they don’t yet have any proper security practices in place.

If you can think of any other trivial examples that people should be aware of, please let me know in the comments below and I will add them to the article. In my next post, I will give examples of more elaborate techniques scammers use in the online job market. See ya!

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