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Scam safety: 5 tips to help you avoid job scams
With recruitment scams on the rise, knowing how to avoid them is more important than ever.By Trust and Safety 7 July 2023
Searching for jobs the safe way.
Scammers are always out there trying to trick everyday people into handing over their personal information, and even their hard-earned money. One of the ways they might do this is by advertising a fake job, to trick someone into providing their information.
That's why it's always important to be vigilant and to know what red flags to look out for when you're making your next career move.
Remember: When it comes to scams, anyone can be a victim – and it's never the victim's fault.
What is a job scam?
In a nutshell, there'll be a pretty attractive-looking job offering. Great pay, flexible work, what's not to love? The catch is that there's no job, and behind it, there's a scammer trying to steal your money or personal information. They'll often be overseas, posing as reputable NZ-based employers.
They'll often look quite real, so the best way you can protect yourself is to know what to look out for.
1. Wage/salary information
Scammers will usually offer a very generous salary, for relatively little work, to lure a victim. Bear in mind that not all businesses will advertise pay for all roles.
For New Zealand-based roles, figures should always be in New Zealand dollars. Compensation will generally be quoted as dollars per hour, or an annual salary – before tax.
Signs that it might be a scam:
- Pay information is in a currency other than NZD.
- Incorrect formatting:
– The dollar sign should come before the number (e.g. $123).
– A comma should be used to separate thousands, and a full stop for cents (e.g. 12,345.67).
- Wage or salary is significantly higher than similar roles.
- The ad mentions 'potential earnings' or how much you could make every day.
- Salary is shown as monthly. It's not that common in NZ, but some large multinational companies do pay staff monthly. With that said, they'll usually still show an annual salary.
2. Look them up online
Rather than clicking any links in the job listing, navigate to their website yourself, so you know it's the real deal. Always remember to do your research, and if you're not sure, get a second opinion from someone you trust.
Things to check:
- Find their careers page to see if they really are hiring for the role.
- Read some other pages on their site – does the language feel the same?
- Can't find a website for the business? This could be a sign that something's not right – though a relatively new business might still be building its online presence.
- Do they have a presence on social media?
- Search the Companies Register to make sure they're a proper, registered business.
3. How did you find the job?
There are multiple ways a legitimate business will try to attract new staff, and there are multiple ways a scammer will try to attract a victim.
- Most businesses will advertise vacancies on reputable platforms like Trade Me, Seek, or LinkedIn. If you found the role somewhere else, try searching these sites to see if they're advertising there.
- If they emailed you directly, this could be a sign of a scam – but you could just be in hot demand! Check the email address it came from – it should end in their website address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org).
- If they reached out via social media, be 100% sure that it's their real account. If it's a business you've not heard of before, you might want to do some more research.
4. What are they asking for with your application?
Recruiters need to know your name and how to contact you. They also need to know why you think you're the right person for the job, so will generally ask for a CV and cover letter too. They don't need any other info at the application stage.
Stay away if they're asking for:
- You to purchase or provide your own equipment for the job. Employers must supply workers with the tools they need to do their job.
- Any kind of payment at all – even a fee for a background check or credit check. This is only done if you're the successful candidate and is a cost to the recruiter, not the applicant.
- Personal details, like your home address, driver's licence, passport, IRD number or bank account. Again, this is only necessary if you're being selected for a role and should only be handed over once you've received a job offer, with a contract to sign.
If you need a visa to work in Aotearoa, never hand over your passport or visa to the employer.
5. Have a good look at the job listing
Look out for:
- Low-quality images/graphics.
- Poor spelling or grammar.
- A vague description of the role's requirements and duties.
- Fake website addresses (e.g. trade-me.co.nz or trademe-co.nz instead of trademe.co.nz).
If you're not sure or something feels off, get a second opinion from a colleague, friend or family member you trust.
If you find a listing on the site and think it could be a scam, let us know via Community Watch at the bottom of each listing.
When it comes to scams, anyone can fall victim and it's never the victim's fault. Never feel ashamed to ask for help if you need it.