iStock_000013846060XSmallOnline job sites make it easier than ever to connect with potential opportunities—but they also make it easier than ever to run afoul of scammers and con artists, posting illegitimate job listings with the intention of accessing your personal information.

For jobseekers, vigilance is imperative. This doesn’t mean you should avoid using online job sites, but it does mean you should be aware of some of the common indicators of phony job postings.

Many of these are matters of common sense—but nevertheless, it may be helpful to have a quick refresher.

How to Detect a Job Site Scam

Make note of the email address listed with the post. It should match the company domain. Frankly, most reputable companies have their own domains and email addresses, so be skeptical of any posting that has you communicating with a Hotmail or a Yahoo address.

Read the job posting carefully, and note any errors. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors do not exactly convey professionalism. A general sense that the posting was written in a rush should be considered a big red flag.

Avoid any requests for personal information. Does the job posting ask for your SSN or bank account information before you even go in for an interview? That’s all you need to know, really: It’s a scam pure and simple.

Be skeptical of vague posts. A real, professional job listing will include some specifics about what the job is and what responsibilities are entailed. If you come across a post that seems more like a “teaser”—not really conveying what the position actually is—that’s reason enough to move on.

Always look at the company website. If you have any lingering doubts, you can and should check out the company at its website. Respectable companies often have Career pages, though this is not always the case, especially for small businesses that don’t hire quite as regularly. You can also poke around on social media to see how active the company is—often a good indicator of legitimacy.

Compare with other offers. Getting a specific job description and salary range is usually a good sign that it’s a respectable offer, but if you still have concerns you can compare it with other offers you’ve seen, holding it up against industry norms.

Be vigilant in your job search—making sure you’re alert to offers that may not be real. For more job search and resume writing assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Grammar Chic at, or 803-831-7444.