Craigslist is the ultimate Internet classifieds section, and it has become incredibly useful for users to search for goods and services in their area. It’s also convenient for job hunting. Unfortunately, the Internet is jam-packed with scammers, and it’s imperative to every person’s well-being to guard themselves and avoid being taken advantage of. Not only could a response to a potential job posting put you in a dangerous situation, it could also cost you money if you aren’t careful and skeptical while searching. Safety and security are key, and the easiest way to maintain that is to look for warning signs on Craigslist ads.
Check out the company
If the ad is sparse, filled with spelling errors and does not contain any clues of a company name, this is a red flag. If you’d like to inquire further before initially dismissing it, respond to the ad, but do not give out any of your personal information (phone number, address, full name or current employer). Ask for the company name or if there is an additional business email where you can reach the poster. If you receive yet another vague response without any company details, this may be one to avoid.
If the business name is listed, do a quick Google search. This goes beyond just checking out the company’s official website. If this is a scam, there will likely be message board or blog posts from others who have been duped. If there is no information on the company whatsoever, this is usually a bad sign. It either means it’s a start-up business that cannot afford to pay you, or it is something shady or illegitimate.
Track your correspondence
If you are constantly emailing the employer back and forth, this could be a warning sign. Once you send along your resume, cover letter and credentials, the employer should take the next step and request a phone or in-person interview. If you’re playing email tag without any progression in the interview process, the company may not be legitimate or professional.
If you do manage to get on the phone with the employer, take note of the caller’s area code. If it looks unusual or out of the area, ask if the person is using his or her cell phone. Be sure to ask plenty of questions about the position, how much work is expected of you and what the training entails. If you feel comfortable, ask about the salary or payment procedures. If all these things check out and nothing seems abnormal, you’re in good shape. Also, if you do have an in-person interview, look up the address on Google Maps. Be sure this is a legitimate business or a public place.
Never give away financial information
If a job posting asks you to pay a certain fee, it is a scam. If the posting requests your banking information so it can run a credit check, be wary. Employers will ask for your financial information after an interview or once you have accepted the position.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
You’ve heard this expression before. If an ad says something like “Make $5,000 a week working from home!” or “Earn $20 an hour in your pajamas!” it’s likely a scam. Do some research on the position and see how much a person with this job generally earns. If the application process is grueling and directs you to multiple arbitrary websites, surveys or offers, it’s best to get out of there. Follow the steps above, and use common sense and good judgment to determine if the posting is legitimate.