One big red flag to keep an eye out for when you get a response from replying to a craigslist job post is English and grammar. If you receive a response that riddled with misspellings, bad grammar, and a little jumbled that’s usually it’s a good sign it’s a scam. Still not sure? When you respond back with a question, you’ll receive an automated response that doesn’t answer your question or even regard you last response.
Sent from Iphone
Somehow the scammers have figured out that it’s popular to send messages from an iphone. Sometimes you’ll get a response if you’re advertising job services from someone and it’ll say sent from iphone to try to make it seem like it’s coming from a real person. It’s really just an automated scam response. The red flag is that the response is usually a vague reply to your post or it will ask a question that was already clearly answered in your post or resume.
That’s not what I said.
If you post your resume or advertise services on craigslist and get a response that has nothing to do with what you posted, don’t respond. Once again, it’s just spammers on the attack. Example, I advertised social media marketing services and got this response from “firstname.lastname@example.org”:
“A computer technician who specializes in repair and trained in general hardware structure is needed for service, kindly let me know if you can repair in volumes”
As you can see, the English is spotty at best and in no way addresses the services or resume that I sent.
People who advertise their services or specialties on craigslist may be more familiar with this trick. You’ll receive this type of message from one email email@example.com telling you to contact a different email:
I need a personal assistant I can pay you $425.50 weekly for more information about job email me only at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then if you delve further by contacting the new email, you’ll get sent to a different one.
Thank you for your response about the personal assistant job .I am offering the position of Personal Assistant, I'm looking for someone that can be trusted and reliable, someone with good understanding also good working skills. This is my office email and it confidential. I prefer we keep all communication through my personal email. My personal email is email@example.com.
Note the trademark spotty English and grammar and what’s with all the emails? This red flag is a scammer’s way of getting you to jump through hopes. They figure if you’re willing to go this far, you might be willing to go further and offer more personal information or be willing to inadvertently send them money. Or at the very least, they’ll keep adding your email to a mailing list for Viagra samples.
Out of the Country
One of the most popular red flag job scams on craigslist is the “out of the country” scheme. In this scenario, the hiring person claims to be out of the country needing someone to do various tasks for them. And of course, they’re willing to pay you up front. Example:
“Let me know if you will be able to offer me any/all of these services and also inform me where are you located? I would love to meet up with you to talk about this job but I am currently away on a
business trip. I am in Quebec Canada so there will be no interview. I will prepay you in advance to do my shopping. I will also have my mails and packages forwarded to your address. I need your service because I am constantly out of town.”
There’s a variety of catches here. Either you’re shipping stolen goods, providing sensitive information so they can access your accounts, or you’ll be conveniently over paid. The overpaid scheme is the most popular one. Here, the scammer over pays you (usually via check) and then ask you to wire them back the excess money. By the time you’ve sent the money, the bank identifies that it was a bad check, you then owe the bank money, and the “hiring manager” that so desperately needed you is long gone.
Credit Check First
Here’s a fun new one I just came across this week. The ad was seemingly for a part time marketing assistant, seemed legit, and was right up my alley. I sent my resume and got this response:
Thank you for responding to our company's recent job posting on craigslist. We have reviewed over 15 applications and we have narrowed our selection down six. You are one of the six applicants. Now we have three positions available. We will give more specific details at the interview. Benefits Package: Medical, dental, vision, disability/life insurance, tuition reimbursement, flex medical spending plan, vacation/sick days.
The position will require you to work in a high financial environment so it's our corporate policy that we do a financial verification check on all employees to verify applicant registration info. Its corporate policy that we have applicants sent through our link so we are compliant with the U.S employment standards act. Please copy and paste this link into your browser and complete the free report now:
Please complete this first step ASAP as we only have 72 hours to set up interviews. When you have completed the credit score reply to this email and we will set a time for an interview. I look forward to meeting with you.
It seemed kinda fishy. Why would someone request a credit check prior to an interview or to meeting me? So I Googled the email address and sure enough, it set off the scam alarms. But just to push the point even further I responded, “No thanks, Jessica. I’m not interested in applying for your scam job. Thanks for trying to rip me off though.” Here’s the response that came back:
Your resume fits perfectly with our needs in this role. It is very high chance that you will get job from us. You need to get your credit report through our link, otherwise we can’t get it automatically. You can get free report from here:
After doing that a hiring manager will call you within 48hours for interview process. If you do not register with us in the manner requested, we will not be able to process your application.
Yeah, sure you will.
What you can do
It’s sad that there are so many out there who prey on hardworking people just looking for work in such an uncertain economy. So what can you do? First, always take an extra minute to research a company or email address before applying for a job. You can Google them or check out www.emailscammers.com and www.scambusters.org. Secondly, if you know a listing is a scam, please flag it to prevent others from falling for the same trap. It only takes a second, but could save some poor unsuspecting person their money. Lastly, never provide sensitive information like a social security number or wire money for any “job”. You shouldn’t have to pay to work. And remember to always rely on your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is!
Please note, all the email address and craigslist auto-messages are authentic scams that I have received.