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Common Job Listing Scams and How To Stay Safe When Applying

Common Job Listing Scams
How To Stay Safe When Applying

I would travel down to hell and wrestle a film from the devil if it was necessary.

-Werner Herzog

Common Job Listing Scams, Across the Internet

A job scam entails a deceptive job offer designed to mislead individuals in search of genuine employment. Scammers typically aim to trick job seekers into parting with money, sharing personal information, or providing unpaid labor. Differentiating between a scam and a legitimate opportunity is crucial when seeking a new job to ensure your safety and avoid unnecessary complications. In this article, we examine more than a dozen prevalent job search scams, outline warning indicators to watch for, and offer valuable tips on safeguarding yourself during the job hunt.

During your job search, you might come across postings or communications promoting counterfeit job positions or career prospects. These ads or messages often have the intention of extracting your personal information or money. It is crucial to refrain from clicking on any links or providing details to these scammers. Mitigate the risk of falling prey to scams by thoroughly researching potential employers and combing through job postings for any signs of suspicious activity.

While some of these scams may not be specific to film related job listings, it’s still important to know and be aware of their existence as a scammer may do some variation of one of these methods and relate it to our industry. If you’ve already been a victim, see what to do. Stay safe.

This article serves solely for informational purposes and is not meant to be construed as legal advice. It is advisable to seek the guidance of a qualified attorney or lawyer for any legal matters you may be facing.

Fake Job Listings

Fraudulent job postings manifest in diverse forms. Despite the efforts of job sites to authenticate genuine employers, scammers occasionally succeed in having their listings published. Alternatively, counterfeit job listings surface on specifically crafted social media profiles with the sole purpose of misleading job seekers. These misleading listings typically request candidates to make a payment to finalize their application or initiate their engagement in the role.

Email Offers

You might receive an email from an individual asserting to be a recruiter who discovered your resume on a job board. While some emails are genuinely from recruiters, others may be attempts to deceive you. Frequently, deceitful parties request sensitive information like identification or bank account numbers.


An impostor is an individual who falsely claims to be another person. In the realm of job scams, these individuals typically masquerade as representatives of an agency, government institution, or hiring company. Impostors commonly request candidates to pay a screening fee, often in the form of gift cards or through a wire transfer.

Money Laundering

A prevalent money laundering tactic entails scammers contacting you either through email or a fake job listing. They might attempt to persuade you to receive a sum of money and utilize your personal bank account to transfer it to another account, allowing you to retain a percentage. Their purported justification for this convoluted transaction is that it would be more convenient and efficient to use your account instead of theirs. In reality, the scammer’s objective is to obtain your bank account information.

Interviews Via an Online Messaging Service

In this scam variant, the fraudster informs you that you’ve been chosen as one of the finalists for a position, often for a role you never applied for. When scheduling the interview, they might disclose that it will be conducted online through a designated messaging service, prompting you to input personal details for setup. The scammer can exploit this opportunity to gain access to the information you’ve supplied.

Credit Reports

In a prevalent credit report scam, the scammer asserts that scrutinizing your credit history is essential to confirm your eligibility for the position. They may claim that the job mandates financial responsibility. The deceptive employer may then request payment for a credit report using your credit card, leading to an unauthorized fee. Alternatively, they might propose a specific service for obtaining the credit report, resulting in additional charges. While legitimate employers occasionally conduct credit checks on employees, it is exceedingly rare for them to require candidates to bear the cost. Reputable companies typically manage credit checks internally.

Work From Home Jobs

In recent years, there has been a surge in individuals searching for remote work opportunities. Scammers, recognizing the growing appeal of working from home, specifically target these candidates with scams related to work-from-home jobs. Frequently, these scams involve convincing job seekers to make payments or buy certain items. For instance, you might be asked to submit an initial registration fee to commence, with the assurance of earning commissions if you can recruit others. If the job does exist, it often turns out to be a form of a pyramid scheme or a multilevel marketing organization.

Career Consulting

Career consulting scams transpire when an individual, posing as a career consultant, contacts you to commend your resume. Subsequently, they suggest that it could be enhanced with additional work. They may propose to enhance your resume personally or direct you to a purported expert, all in exchange for a fee.

Informational Material

Individuals engaging in scams often present themselves as hiring experts, offering “informational material” to enhance your chances of securing a position. They charge a fee for supposedly providing crucial information to help you secure and prepare for an interview with your desired company. In truth, this information is usually accessible on the employer’s website, their job listing, or other free sources. The so-called adviser reaching out to you typically has little valuable information to offer.

Equipment Purchases

Certain deceitful employers assert that they are providing a candidate with a remote job and subsequently request the candidate to make a payment for their remote work equipment, such as a computer and monitor. The scam usually involves the scammer insisting that the payment is a prerequisite for official onboarding, with a promise to reimburse the candidate on their paycheck. However, once the payment is made, the scammer absconds with the money and terminates all communication. While some employers may expect employees to use their personal equipment, it is extremely rare for a bona fide employer to demand direct payment from the employee for such equipment.

Envelope Stuffing

This scam promotes a remote job opportunity involving the task of filling envelopes for a company, often accompanied by the lure of exceptionally high weekly pay. The scammer insists on a one-time payment upfront, asserting that this amount covers supplies and processing. After making the payment and receiving your assignment by mail, it typically turns out to be a document stating that your sole responsibility is not envelope stuffing but rather recruiting another person into the scam.

Shipping Scheme

Referred to as postal fraud, shipping schemes represent a subset of work-from-home scams. In these scams, the perpetrator entices individuals with an appealing salary for the task of repackaging and reshipping goods, coupled with compensation for associated shipping fees. However, in many instances, the candidate discovers that they are unwittingly shipping potentially stolen items and covering the shipping costs, all without receiving the promised compensation or salary.

Career Advancement Grants

Exercise caution if you receive an email urging you to apply for a “career advancement grant” from the government. Typically, these scams falsely assert that the recipient qualifies for a grant to cover higher education or professional development costs. The email may provide links for applications, stating that approved applications could result in the government depositing funds directly into your account. At times, the sender may claim affiliation with a specific government agency. However, these fraudulent grants are designed to either pilfer personal information or extract money from you. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the government never sends unsolicited communications regarding grant opportunities.

Resale Gig

In this scam, fraudsters focus on individuals looking for extra income through a side hustle. They might reach out to you via phone or email, presenting an enticing opportunity to acquire luxury goods like clothing, appliances, technology, or accessories at a discounted rate. The premise is that you can resell these items for a profit. The scammers offer assistance in purchasing the inventory, but unfortunately, they never deliver the items as promised.

Early Warning Signs of a Potential Scam

Frequent or Unnecessary Calls

Scam callers often persistently call, attempting to pressure you into accepting their offerings. Frequently, they assert that you might miss the chance to apply for a job unless you respond immediately or agree to their terms.

Upfront Details

Scammers aiming to obtain your information often request personal details upfront, such as proof of residence or financial statements, with the promise of a direct link to job opportunities. Legitimate companies typically do not require such documentation until the interview or onboarding phase, and they do not ask for upfront payments for employment. Even if a third party is involved in the job search, the employer usually covers the associated expenses.

Unprofessional Emails

Authentic companies typically employ professionals to manage their social media and email accounts. Striving to make a positive impression on clients, they tend to send well-crafted emails containing all the necessary information for candidates. Conversely, scam emails frequently feature obvious errors and provide vague contact details.

Lucrative Job Offers

You might receive an enticing job offer with a high salary but limited details. The scammer aims to attract you with promises of wealth, even though the job may not exist. If you apply, the “employer” might ask you to pay fees or disclose sensitive details.

Unfamiliar Software

When a genuine employer arranges an online interview, they are likely to use a well-known, reputable application. If they request you to install unfamiliar software, especially one that is proprietary, it indicates that the job is likely a scam.

Fake Accounts and Websites

As nearly anyone can create and operate a social media account or website, scammers commonly establish online platforms for fictitious employers or fabricate channels for real companies. A clear warning sign regarding these accounts is their lack of information or recent creation.

Tips For Protecting Yourself Against Scams

Conduct Thorough Research

Before applying for a position, engage in comprehensive research on the company to confirm its existence and validate identifying details. Utilize a search engine to locate the employer’s official website and social media pages, extracting valuable information for comparison with job listings or emails. For instance, identifying the email handle of the employer’s human resources department can reveal potential scams if the recruitment email comes from a different handle.

Search For Complaints

Explore job sites featuring review sections where employees and candidates share their experiences with employers. Investigate potential employers on these platforms to uncover insights from others. Their feedback can disclose the legitimacy of the employer, aiding your decision-making process. Additionally, consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to identify any negative reviews or allegations of fraud associated with the company.

Trust Your Instincts

If suspicion persists about a job or employer despite research, trust your instincts. If feelings of uncertainty, discomfort, or jeopardy arise, avoiding the opportunity is the wisest choice. Even when confirming the company’s legitimacy, your feelings may indicate misalignment with the employer’s values and interests.

Safeguard Your Personal Information

Maintain the confidentiality of your bank account information, credit card number, social security number, and other sensitive details when interacting with strangers online, even if they request such information. Legitimate employers refrain from seeking payment card information and don’t solicit banking or federal identifying details until after hiring. If a recruiter or employer seeks these details prematurely, consider terminating communication with them.

Verify Website Security

Steer clear of illegitimate jobs by confirming websites and their security protocols. Ensure the web address commences with “https://” rather than “http://,” indicating authenticity and security. Additionally, assess the site’s longevity and ownership by inputting its URL into a domain age and website registry tool.

Next Steps If You Are A Victim of a Scammer

If you’ve already been targeted by a scam, take the following steps to mitigate the repercussions. If you want, we have a more in-depth article as well.

Inform Your Bank

If the scammer has taken your bank information, coerced you into sending a check, or initiated a charge on your credit card, promptly call your bank and provide them with the details of what transpired. They may be able to cancel the check or reverse the fraudulent charges, and can assist in securing your account by helping you change your information.

Block All Communications With The Sender

Preventing further scams is crucial. Most email providers offer the option to block a sender and mark their messages as spam. If the scammer contacted you through calls or text messages, also block their phone number.


The FTC gathers information about potential scams to aid other consumers and job seekers. If you feel comfortable sharing your experience, submit a report about the fraudulent company for government investigation. Additionally, if you come across a fake job advertisement on a job board or search engine, reporting the posting can be beneficial.

Activate Identity Fraud and Credit Alerts

Your bank might provide credit and identity monitoring services. These services notify you instantly if someone uses your information, such as applying for a credit card using your name and social security number. This proactive approach allows you to address any concerns promptly before they escalate.

Report The Listing To Us

If you are ever suspicious of a FilmLocal listing, report it to us immediately. We would much rather you be incorrect than risk people falling to a scam. We will never penalize you for a false flag, we will appreciate you helping keep this community safe!

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