How To Spot Fake Job Ads

How to spot fake job ads

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How to spot fake job ads

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How To Spot Fake Job Ads

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If you’ve ever posted your resume on sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, or Craigslist, you’ve probably received emails in response to your resume, no matter how highly targeted your resume was written, or at the other end of the spectrum, how badly it was written.

In fact, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a resume! I had a recent blog post where I outlined some of the biggest mistakes in posting your resume on Craigslist. I decided to also post that as an article in the RESUMES section of Atlanta Craigslist, since that was where I got my inspiration for the article and wanted to help those people who were making those specific mistakes.

This was an article, not a resume, so I was a little surprised (or was I?) when I started receiving emails “responding to my resume on Craigslist”. Craigslist does try to fight fraud by including the following in every email sent through their system:

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info:

How to spot fake job ads

So, this is what transpires. Some businesses look through internet resumes, but not to find applicants for “legitimate” positions; rather, they do it to grow their email lists and find prospects for Network Marketing and MLM business opportunities. While many Network Marketing and MLM opportunities are legitimate, they are often not what most job seekers are looking for when they post their resumes.

I’ll start by responding to the latter. It’s probably a network marketing or multi-level marketing opportunity if you receive an invitation to a meeting about a “business opportunity,” to “get in on the ground floor,” or anything similar. Even so, it’s not necessarily a terrible thing, provided that the opportunity fits well with your objectives, competencies, and preferences. I dislike those who are evasive about the “opportunity” and refuse to provide any information prior to the meeting, such as the company it is for. Being honest about a chance, in my opinion, is essential. Before investing, spending, or wasting their time (depending on their viewpoint and the opportunity) traveling to a meeting and sitting in a crowded (or nearly empty) conference room in a budget hotel with others who were led to the meeting by the same purposefully vague invitation method, it gives the person a chance to investigate the opportunity further.

Even worse are the con artists that rely on the desperation of job seekers who have reached the point where they are willing to take advantage of ANY chance that presents themselves. These frequently consist of “work from home” and money transfer options.

First, a disclaimer: these are real responses I’ve personally received. While I’ve changed the firm names and other contact information, I can’t ensure that the “job opportunities” below aren’t genuinely real ones and I take no responsibility for them. Having said that, each of the ads I’ve included in this piece has at least one significant aspect that, in my opinion, makes it appear suspect at best or blatantly fraudulent at worst. In order to avoid falling for one or more of the numerous scams out there and to avoid wasting your time on phony chances that are only there to rob you of your money, the purpose of this post is to encourage you to use your own critical thinking skills as part of your job search.

Exhibit “A”:

After reviewing your resume at XYZ website (site name changed) we are sure you fit our requirements for a financial manager position.

My name is Rip Meoff (Name changed) and I am working in Money Transfer Ripoff Opportunity Inc. (Company name changed)

It’s a large company, headquartered in the USA. Main field of our business is financial services, including escrow services provided for customers of online auctions.

Position we offer is part-time, with flexible schedule. You are to spend 2-3 hours on average a day (except Saturday and Sunday, no tasks during weekends) working at home.

We require: Internet access and e-mail availability.

Money Transfer Ripoff Opportunity Inc. covers all expenses, no need to invest your own money!

After we sign the contract, you’ll be employed for a month of a trial period. During this timeframe, you’ll receive all the necessary instructions and training from your supervisor. One week before the trial ends, supervisor will be making his/her decision regarding the employee. Termination of contract can be recommended.

During the trial period you’ll be paid 2.3k$ a month. Also you’ll keep 8% from every money transfer processed. Total income, considering the current volume of clients, will be up to $4500 per month. After you successfully pass the Trial Period, base salary will be increased up to $3000 per month. Furthermore, you may ask for extra hours or even a full time job.

If you are interested in this job offer or would like to learn more, please forward your filled form to our e-mail: (email address changed)


First name:_______________________

Last name:_____________

Country of residence:_____________________

Contact phone:____________________

Preferred call time:____________________


We promise to reply promptly!

We found your resume at (name of site where you posted your resume). This letter confirms that your resume has been duly processed and your skills completely meet our requirements for the Financial Manager vacancy.


Rip Meoff, Chief Ripoff Artist

My take:

  • Obviously, this looks and smells like a rip-off. As the old saying goes, if it looks like a duck, and smells like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
  • It’s EXTREMELY unlikely that the resume of anyone but a Financial Manager would “completely meet our requirements” for a real, legitimate Financial Manager job opportunity.
  • Another tipoff: the sender asks you to send information that they should already have from your resume (clue #1) to a gmail, yahoo, hotmail, or other non-corporate address (clue #2). Now a gmail or other free account doesn’t necessarily mean the opportunity isn’t legitimate – many hiring managers choose to keep the company confidential until the talk or meet with you, for various reasons (such as looking for a replacement for an existing key employee who doesn’t know they’re going to get axed).
  • This type of response is often from companies that either have acronyms for names (though, again, this is not a true test of the validity of the job – IBM, CBS, ABC, and many other real, solid companies use acronyms as company names) or some legitimate-sounding name that sounds like either a name you’ve heard or one you might have heard. Common words used in these company names (though, again, this isn’t a true test of legitimacy) are National, American, Federal, Global, and other words that sound big, strong, or important.

Exhibit “B”:

Your resume was reviewed and passed on to our office. Your experience as (your most recent job title) was of interest. If you are still seeking a professional or executive career in the Business Development sector or other fields, with pay between $60,000 and $500,000, please update your information here…(link to their site)


My Take:

  • Firstly, I hadn’t posted an actual resume!
  • Secondly, the sender didn’t include any real information about the “job opportunity” and the pay range listed is so wide that my internal scam detector alarm went off so loudly that my house nearly started shaking.
  • The link wasn’t actually directly to their site – it went to some link with a long series of numbers and letters after the beginning of the URL – obviously a tracking link so they’d know you visited the site even if you didn’t enter your information once you got there.
  • The only clue they provide about the type of position is “professional or executive career in the Business Development sector or other fields.” One can get a little more vague than that, but not by much.
  • No company name, no recruiter name.

Exhibit “C”:

Dear Jobseeker,

After viewing your resume on (job site), we have decided to contact you regarding an offer. We are looking for a Representative in the United States.

The Representative will work closely with our Financial Department to manage and process payment orders and to serve as the key conduit for those requirements.

§ § Representative will be tasked to receiving payments, processing these transactions and keep records as well as making the necessary money transfers

§ § Opportunity to work at home: maximum one hour each business day

Requirements :

§ § Attention to detail and organized, with good communication skills both verbal and written

§ § US citizen or permanent residence/green card holder

§ § Clean criminal record


§ § Attractive bonuses and commissions with each order

§ § No contact with our clients

Salary and commissions:

§ § Guaranteed commissions totaling up to $6000.00 every month + $1,600.00 basis monthly salary + 10% commission from every processed order

Please let me know if you are interested.

Hiring Department

My Take:

  • Again, Payment Processing positions are EXTREMELY likely to be scams designed to get you to give your bank account details so that the scammers can steal money from you.
  • “Representative” is too vague – Account Representative, Marketing Representative, and so on are much more common in the real world.
  • “Representative” is more commonly used in client-facing positions – after all, a “representative” is representing their company, and if there’s “no contact with our clients,” what’s the point in calling you a “representative”?
  • “Guaranteed commissions” ?? BIG red flag.
  • “totaling up to $6000.00 every month” – “up to” is purposely vague and designed to stimulate your greed gland, make you salivate and respond to them. If they do guarantee commissions in the first place, how much do they actually guarantee? This sounds really fishy to me – especially with a “maximum of one hour each business day.”
  • Guaranteed commissions, plus a monthly salary PLUS 10% commission from every order? So you’re getting 2 commissions? One guaranteed and one based on each order? Even fishier.
  • Bad grammar, e.g. “Representative will be tasked to receiving payments,” is another clue, though bad grammar and spelling are so prevalent that misspelled words and grammar mistakes alone aren’t a true indication of the validity of an opportunity, but excessive mistakes can be a tipoff.

Exhibit “D”:


We currently have a position available.

If you are intrested (sic) in taking the job please contact (email address) for further information.

Thank you

(name of company)

My Take:

Send this one straight to your trashcan!

  • They don’t say anything about what kind of job.
  • Though you can’t see it because I removed the email address and company name, it was a free email account and the address didn’t match the name of the company – it was a company with an acronym in the name, and the email address had a slightly different acronym.

I do hope this helps all you job seekers out there. There are lots of great opportunities out there, including some legitimate “work-at-home” opportunities, but also a lot of bad people who will do anything to steal your money, your identity, or whatever they can get their slimy little paws on. Or in the case of “work-at-home” scams, they’ll steal your time, labor, and effort for their gain, not yours.

It’s a jungle out there – know how to spot the snakes and you’ll have a better chance of not getting bitten.

To your success,

David B. Wright
Author, Get A Job! Your Guide to Making Successful Career Moves

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One Comment

  1. is a fake website. The modus operandi is simple. they fish out data of existing job seekers who have posted their resume in some jobsites, position themself as a good superior website only for senior management, charge you a non refundable fee and walk off. No calls, et al. They say that prospective employers will call you directly….beware !!

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