4 Ways to Spot Online Job Scams (and how to avoid them)

If you’ve been caught by an online job scam, or if you haven’t but you are hoping to avoid them altogether, you might like to continue reading.

I hear you girl. It is just such a hit to the confidence – you’ve been searching for online work for ages – then you finally think you found something. You are over the top excited, thinking OMG I’ve made it, we’re saved! Excited, at last, to be able to work from your laptop while you travel the world. Filled with joy that you can spend more time at home with your children, or your pets, and finally build the life of your dreams, that runs on your terms. Then…you find out it was all a scam and all of your hopes and dreams are dashed in an instant. Ugh.

We are often asked in our 90-Day VA program if there are ways to avoid this pitfall that is so devastating to one’s self-esteem. So, I am sharing these 4 ways to know – instantly and without hesitation – how you can spot an online job scam, to ensure you are never tricked again!

1.  You get hired for a job without an interview

If you ever receive an email message from someone you don’t know, offering you a job right on the spot, your alarm bells should start going off immediately. Perhaps this sneaks into your inbox in the form of a DM on LinkedIn or another social media outlet.

Often this type of offer comes in a similar form to this: “We’ve checked out your profile and we would love to hire you. You would be a great fit for our Virtual Assistant company. You will receive x-amount of dollars and all these benefits and we want you to start next week if that works for you…” and so forth, on and on about the job that you have been “hired” for.

Hold on…WHY on Earth, would any legit company hire someone, completely out of the blue, without interviewing them? If a company ever slips into your online messages, exclaiming “you are hired” without even requesting to interview you, it is a clear-cut sign that this is a scam. Don’t even entertain this as an opportunity. Run.

2.  The interview takes place on Google Hangouts

So maybe they do want to hire you, and they send out a really nice message telling you how perfect you would be for their team. Perhaps they even tell you they want to interview you…but the interview takes place on Google Hangouts. This is another sign that it is most likely a scam.

It’s a bummer, but typically professional organizations do not use this type of platform. We have different software that we use for video conferences and subsequently for professional remote interviews. A couple of examples of well known and legitimate video conference services business professionals prefer to use are Zoom and GoToMeeting. 


3.  You need to pay to get the job

This sure-fire way to know you are being scammed is a very popular one. Perhaps you’ve already gone through some of the previous steps to accepting this sudden job offer and then they begin to give you your next steps. You are required to go and purchase the mandatory software and equipment, after which you will receive a cheque to refund you for your purchases. They may even tell you the cheque is on the way, and you might even receive one from them as an attempt to buy your trust. 

You should always keep in mind this blanket rule for potential remote work:

You should never have to pay to get a job! 

If you are an employee, the company has to legally supply everything for you and there won’t be any of this “cheque scam” stuff happening. If the company takes you on as an independent contractor, you will, of course, have to provide your own laptop and your own equipment. However, if they use any special software or programs, in particular, they will either buy that for you or provide you access to these.

For example, if they are specific in the social media scheduling software they like to use, they will provide you access to their software. They won’t make you buy these tools that are super unique to their preferences.

Generally speaking, as a contractor it’s your right to use whichever tools you want to use, and if your client wants you to use something specific to them, they will make sure to give you access to this.

4.  You are asked for personal information

Another common scam that is happening in the virtual job search process; being asked for personal information up front. They may even send you a W-2 or ask you for your bank information to get things going. This is a huge red flag!

There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be asking you for all this personal information when you haven’t even been formally hired or interviewed.

Stop and think about these things for a moment. Is this how a normal job would do it? Would they just randomly show up and say that you’re hired…or ask for all your information and send all these documents without interviewing you or properly considering if you are the right person for the team? The correct answer is no. And if they are doing this, you know you are dealing with a scam.

The number one thing I want you to take away from this is that you should never have to pay to get a job. I am often looking at jobs to post in my 90 Day VA course group, and it makes me so upset when I run into so-called “jobs” where direct marketing companies post things like, “hey come join our team, work from home and get paid to do social media.” It’s totally fine if you want to buy into these multi-level marketing opportunities…but these are not jobs. These are businesses. They are not the same.

In a job you are paid by the hour or by the chunk of work that you do each month. You also get paid each month. Your job is writing posts, scheduling them to social media and creating graphics for the company you represent. You should never have to pay money to join a company team. That is not a job.

Again, just use your brain and take a moment to think about the situation. If this was happening in a non-virtual world, would this make sense? If the answer is no, the best thing to do is probably to run hard in the opposite direction, because you are most likely dealing with a scam.

As a side note, I want to clarify one thing; sometimes you do have to spend resources, whether that be through countless hours of YouTube research or spending some money on education to become skilled and qualified in order to land real virtual jobs. These courses, like my 90 Day VA program, are NOT, in fact, a scam, these are rather an investment to better yourself or your business.

Regular women like you and I have the option to invest in a course like this so that we can be knowledgeable when it comes to applying for online virtual jobs or gaining remote clients. When you enroll in a program like this, you are not being “hired” by the course to pay them and work for them. What you are buying into is an education, just as you would for a college degree.

On that note, if you are curious to learn more about actual legit jobs you can do online, be sure to check out this free class on how to become a Virtual Assistant. If you are wanting to gain the skills you need to land remote jobs and work from home then click here to have a peek at the syllabus to my 90 Day VA course.

In case you weren’t aware, as a bonus to being a 90 Day VA student, you will also have access to our private group where I hand select and post 20-30 legitimate online jobs each week. You can rest assured that any job posted in our group is 100% scam-free! 


Written for the 90DayVA program


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