Job Scam Awareness Tips for You this Spring

The winter semester has officially come to a close, giving you time to relax and sleep in before the spring semester, travel, work, and socializing begin to eat up the bulk of your break. And with the snow likely to be gone til we’re back for September classes (we’re holding off saying it definitively cause, you know, Calgary), the extra hours previously spent on group projects and last-minute assignments are prime time to spruce up your resume and look for employment opportunities! But do you know how to decipher between good work experience and too good to be true?

To help you ensure you aren’t getting played by bad actors, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind as you fulfill your quest for a summer job this year.

Chat, is this real?

When a potential position catches your eye, it’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of etching your way into a particular field, especially if it’s your first rodeo searching for a full-time position. But as job scams continue to get more intricate, it can be difficult to verify what’s a real posting.

A good first step is to confirm that the company you’re applying to actually exists. While job boards do their best to weed out scam artists preying on those looking for experience, a few can slip through the cracks on even the most reputable sites.

Always be sure to scout the company out by looking at its website, getting to know its mission, studying its social media presence, and potentially looking at its current employees (this is also simply good practice for any job you’re applying for, so it shouldn’t add that much onto your typical job pursuing sesh). 

Does their website look unfinished, not secure (missing the https://), or can you not find a trace of them outside of the original posting? You may have just sussed out a scam, so be sure to save others and report the posting to be professionally reviewed! Your due diligence can lead to a dodged bullet for yourself and others.

But is it too good to be true?

So a website and Google search of a company pass the eye test! Now we’re getting somewhere. But just cause it looks legit doesn’t mean you’re in the clear just yet. Keep in mind that there are a few subtle letters and numbers that can assist in your employer sleuthing.

No matter what stage you’re at in your hunt, it’s always conducive to investigate salary ranges and compare them to listings for equivalent positions. While a position offering six figures for remote work with no experience is so tempting you could jump into the air and have your eyes pop out of their sockets, it is often scam artists preying on the desperate – which could result in any data you submit being compromised or sold. 

To help you get a better understanding of what your work is worth (not you yourself, you’re priceless) Glassdoor and LinkedIn are two wonderful sites to find competitive wages in your field, and can also assist you during a salary negotiation!

A new type of purchasing scheme has also begun to pop up on online boards. While it might seem like common sense, an employer only offering you the position if you purchase expensive items for the ‘workplace’ (such as cameras, TVs, or the iconic Amazon gift card) on your own dime before you’re onboarded is never a good sign. Stay vigilant, as no real job will require you to spruce up the workspace with luxury items before you’re initiated.

And as always, keep your eyes peeled for the classic multi-level marketing (MLM) ploy or pyramid scheme. If your buddy Phil with a Corvette asks you to recruit family or friends to sell some calling cards for a chunk of the profit, maybe make a quick call.

Always double-check who’s contacting you

Hmm, a message from a company you applied to ended up in your spam email folder? I wonder how that got there? 

Leaks happen. A reputable hiring committee is never going to sell you out, but unplanned data breaches, phishes, and honest mistakes happen all the time, giving shady individuals some prime intel on vulnerable targets. Always remember, if you’re second-guessing who sent you something, there’s likely good reasoning behind it.

If you just heard back from a company you applied to for the first time, a solid option is to check if your interviewer has a bio or is listed on a directory page on the company’s website. If this is a follow-up, also ensure the spelling of their email address is the same! Spoofed email addresses can often fool you at a glance, but, for example, a closer inspection can unveil that the m in the address is a lowercase r and n next to each other.

The body of an email or call can also be indicative of a scam. If you’re instructed to install specific software included in the email you’ve never heard of onto your devices and the body is full of unprofessional gibberish instead of the follow-up for your references, a ghosting might be in order. 👻

The internet has got your back!

Wait, what? There are resources available on the web that can help you verify an employer’s legitimacy and the quality of your potential employer. We’re talking about the same internet? Surprisingly enough, yes! 

The aforementioned Glassdoor and Indeed are great resources to not only browse for jobs but also serve as fantastic archives to learn about your potential employer’s track record through company reviews! It’s always good to check if your work is going to give you steady hours or will pay you at a consistent rate.

Additionally, a Google News search of the employer can dig up some well-publicized breakthroughs, innovations, or red flags you may want to avoid. Just be sure to read beyond the headline to verify it isn’t a sponsored puff piece.

No matter what type of employment you’re eyeing, remember to keep your eyes peeled for red flags to help you get that green! 💵 

Remember, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all potential scams you could face. Everything is constantly evolving with AI being the latest hurdle blocking your way to easy employment. To stay as up-to-date as you possibly can, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is the place to be, with archives of recruitment scams and resources if you happen to be a victim.

Need some more tips to snag a job this Summer? Check out our previous blog for an in-depth guide to help you secure your next internship or part-time position!

Looking to build up your resume and give back to the campus community? SAMRU will soon be opening applications for volunteer and part-time opportunities this coming academic year! Stay glued to our Instagram @SAMRUBuzz and our job and volunteer pages on our website for all available positions.
For general inquiries, you can always shoot us an email at