How to Spot a Fake Job Ad on Gumtree, Indeed, Pnet, Careers24 etc

If the opportunity seems “too good to be true,” it is probably a scam. Pay attention to what your instincts tell you if something feels “off” about the opportunity.

Before you apply for a job or respond to an email with a copy of your resume or your CV, make sure the opportunity doesn’t match these criteria.

  •  It’s a scam if: “No experience is necessary!” (IN MOST CASES) 

That’s usually the sign of a scam. The description is only a sales pitch, vague, or so simple that anyone could do it. No particular skills, experience, or education are needed to do the job. When you analyse it, the job doesn’t make sense, and anyone/everyone qualifies. Often, poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling may be used in the description/pitch.

  • It’s a scam if: The job is VERY easy to do, and pays VERY well. 

Although you must start as soon as possible, very little of your time and not much effort is needed to do the job, but you will receive a handsome salary for minimal effort. “No experience necessary” may be part of the job description or pitch.

  •  It’s a scam if: A genuine job interview is not required. 

A minimal fake interview can be done very quickly via text message (like Whatsapp or Skype) or email. Or, they claim to be so impressed with you that they don’t need to actually talk with you about the job. (Which means you don’t get to ask any troublesome questions!)

  •   It’s a scam if: They found your CV on a job website you have never used – or haven’t used in years. 

This is usually an emailed scam although it may come via social media. They claim to be following up on an application you have made, and you are perfect for their job. They are ready to hire you immediately. They may even thank you for your (nonexistent) application for the job. It’s not your memory failing you. The application didn’t happen!

  •  It’s a scam if: The employer’s and/or the recruiter’s identity is not clear. 

The job description may look real, with some duties and responsibilities or a few tasks, but there is no clear indication of who the employer is. Or the alleged employer is well-known (e.g. Amazon, Google, Apple, etc.), but the only contact is an email address through a general service like Gmail, rather than an address associated with the employer. Before you apply, be sure to ask for and verify the name of the contact person and the employer.

  •   It’s a scam if: When you Google them, you find only job postings or warnings. 

If contact with them is only via e-mail to an address at or some other e-mail service not associated with the business, it is a scam. If they are supposedly hiring for a legitimate employer, the contact information provided should reflect that.  A legitimate business does more than hire people. A legitimate business — even one only a few weeks old — has a website for customers and potential customers/clients. And that website is very likely visible to Google so it shows up in a Google search. An “invisible” website, or no website, is the symptom of a scam. If there are warnings, pay attention.

  •  It’s a scam if: They URGENTLY need to hire YOU — IMMEDIATELY! 

They know that you are exactly the employee they need (without talking with you or anyone who knows you), and you must begin working for them as soon as possible — preferably today!.

  •  It’s a scam if: You must provide very sensitive information before anything else is done. 

Before you have been interviewed or finished your research about them, they need you to send them your ID number, bank account number, or a credit card number so they can pay you without delay. Be particularly cautious if they want to know your birthday (even only the month and day), mother’s maiden name, the first school you attended, or other very personal information.

  • It’s a scam if: You must purchase something from them — or FOR them — to get started. 

They want to hire you immediately, but first you must pay for some supplies needed for the job. Only they can provide the appropriate supplies. Or, possibly, you need to pay them for some special training that they will provide you to help you get started.


Published by Lithemba Bhele


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