Tips to spot a fake job offer in Canada

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Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

There is no hiding that online scams have been on the rise since the pandemic started. Fake job scams specifically, have also been on a rise.

Scammers know job-seekers are in a vulnerable position, and willing to provide their personal information or even money to secure a job in Canada. If you have fallen for a scam, you are not alone. Thousands of Canadians have been victims of fraud. Stats from Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) indicate there were more than 68,000 reported cases of fraud in 2021, and that is not including December. The total money was up to $231 million, more than double the losses in 2020.

Educating yourself if your best defence against scams. Beyond the CAFC website, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a scam tracker that keeps tabs on reported cases of fraud.

Here is a list of tips for avoiding fake job offers, and a few more to help you find the real deal:

How to avoid job offer scams

A general rule of thumb is if you think the job offer is too good to be true, you’re probably right.

PCI reported some other tips to determine if a fake job offer on your hands:

  • “If you didn’t apply for it, it’s probably not real. Fake job offers are usually unsolicited. They come from companies you didn’t apply to, for jobs that you didn’t apply for.
  • They may offer a high salary, and have vague requirements that make them seem like anyone could be a good candidate (over age 18, no experience required, etc.) They are designed to pander to your emotions, to make you think the job search is over, and you have found a source of financial security.
  • The sender’s email address may be suspicious— or it may not. Legitimate business owners do use free email services like Gmail, but it is more likely that companies will have their own domain names in their email address. Keep in mind though, scammers are able to hijack emails of existing companies and pose as recruiters. If you do suspect you received a fake job offer from a real company—do not reply to the email—but contact someone else at that company to see if they really tried to get ahold of you. If there is no contact information in the sender’s email, that could be a red flag.
  • The fake recruiter may ask you to pay money in order to get the job offer. They may give you a cheque to buy supplies with, which turns out to be fake and you are left on the hook for whatever you purchased. You should not have to pay for a legitimate job offer, or do any transaction activities.
  • They ask for personal information, such as your home address and your Social Insurance Number (SIN). You should never give out your SIN unless it is legally required. Employers only need your SIN after you are hired.”

Make sure you search before you agree to anything. Do a quick background check on the sender and the company they are representing. See if typing the company name along with “scam” turns up any results. Do not click on any links, reply to any messages, or download anything until you are confident that you are talking to a legitimate recruiter.

If you do suspect you have received a fake job offer, you can report it.

Finding genuine job offers: network and apply

When you receive a real job offer, it is from a company that you know. Either you applied to it, or you were introduced to them through networking.

When you are applying online, try sending your application to the applying to the company website directly.

Make sure when you apply that you have a cover letter and a Canadian-style resume. Edit your application to the job you are applying for. Read the job description thoroughly. Explain to the hiring manager why you are a good fit and how you can benefit the company.

Always complete research on the company to make your own judgement about if it is a good place to work.

Finally, just apply. Employers hire for a number of reasons beyond what is written on the page. Even if you do not think you are qualified, apply anyway.

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