Is This Job Opening Too Good to Be True?

Is This Job Opening Too Good to Be True?
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The churn created by the “Great Resignation” has left job-vacancy figures at near-record levels, which could be great news for transitioning servicemembers planning their next steps, veterans seeking a new career, or military spouses searching for new or better employment.


Some job-seekers may find positions with high starting salaries, more flexibility thanks to new telecommuting procedures, and increased benefits designed to lure qualified applicants. (MOAA’s Job Board is a great place to start that search.)


But some of these offers, especially those you may see advertised on social media, are quite literally too good to be true. They make promises designed to do all manner of damage – mining personal information, tricking applicants into making purchases, even collecting fees from over-eager “employees.” 


Sniffing out such fraud might seem easy enough, but it can be tempting to ignore warning signs when you’re picturing a nice salary or a fresh professional start. Keep these five tips in mind as you consider your career options:


1. Money for nothing? First, the obvious: Any position requiring upfront payment or “starter costs” is all but certainly a scam. Also be wary of “employers” promising to front money at the start of a remote job to help cover startup costs or other expenses – as the Federal Trade Commission explains, “No legitimate potential employer will ever send you a check and then tell you to send on part of the money. ... That’s a fake check scam. The check will bounce, and the bank will want you to repay the amount of the fake check.”


2. Unprofessional profile. As with other types of scams, potential victims may find the devil in the details when checking on a prospective employer. Does the employer’s job posting, social media page, or website contain spelling or grammatical errors? Are emails from “hiring managers” coming in from Google, Hotmail, AOL, or similar domains, instead of a business account? While some small companies may lack the resources for an A-plus, polished web presence, don’t be tricked into falling for a false online storefront.


3. Background blanks. A web search with the company’s name should turn up any previous scam or fraud incidents, but it may be just as valuable for what it doesn’t turn up. If you can’t easily find contact information for the company, or find little to no presence on major social media platforms (LinkedIn, for example), it’s best to walk away.


[RELATED: 8 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Networking or Hiring Event]


4. Remote red flags. Telework offers a tempting platform for some scammers, and who wouldn’t want a flexible schedule with outsized financial results? Since you can’t check out the office in person, spend extra time on the website of any potential virtual employer – look for full contact information, make sure the site is up to date, and cross-check staffers with their LinkedIn or other social media pages. A little research can avoid potential disaster.


5. Trust your network. Your connections, both online and offline, may point you toward the career of your dreams, but they also can help prevent you from taking a step down the wrong path. Don’t be afraid to check in with your contacts in related fields – if they haven’t heard of a potential competitor, that’s a very bad sign.


Get a leg up on your next career move with the resources available on MOAA’s Transition and Career page, including exclusive offers for Life and Premium members.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley