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Scammy online jobs: How to spot and avoid them

Social distancing due to the Covid-19 crisis has led many employers to enforce remote working. Most employers have also adapted their hiring processes in line with these actions. But the problem is that there are many scammy online jobs posted by bad actors looking to take advantage of innocent job seekers. Here’s what to keep in mind when applying for any remote job:

Signs of scammy online jobs

Communication exclusively via chat platforms

Most employers will want to conduct legitimate interview using video tools like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts. If an employer only wants to be contacted via WhatsApp, keep in mind that this is a common tactic used by scammers across the world.

Fishy contact details

This one almost ties in with the first warning sign. Most employers use their business email domain for conducting interviews. If you’re applying for a position at ABSA, for example, you need to be able to verify that the hiring manager is actually from ABSA and not from “”. if you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to check out the company’s website and verify their contact details.

An employer requests your personal information via chat or email

Scammy online jobs can be spotted from a mile away if anyone ever asks you to disclose your banking information as part of the application process. Legitimate employers need your basic info like phone number and email address, but that’s about it as far as details go during the recruitment process.

The job sounds too good to be true

Things that sound too good to be true usually are. A company will never contact you for a final round of interviews if you don’t even remember applying for the position in the first place. Scammers are real, and they troll job boards in search of unsuspecting victims!

Trending scammy online jobs

Although scammers are creative beyond belief and this list isn’t comprehensive, here’s a quick look at the top 3 scammy online jobs people have fallen victim to over the last few months:

Social Media Jobs

Social menu networks are by no means immune to scams, so even though someone might have reached out to you via LinkedIn, you still need to approach with caution. Regardless of how good the offer looks, you always need to verify the recruiter’s social media account before even replying on a message.

Credit Report

Someone might have contacted you, posing as a hiring manager, stating that you seem to be the perfect candidate for an open position they have. But before they can take the interview process to the next step, they need to perform a credit check on your name. The moment you give them any of your personal details, they have everything they need to access your bank accounts and steal your money.

Paid Programs

Scammers love this trap, and it’s one that’s been around for years! Before “starting a new job”, victims of these scams are told they must buy programs or software that will enable them to perform their jobs. But as soon as you make that purchase, you’ll never hear from that “employer” again.

What to do if you spot scammy online jobs

If you’ve stumbled upon what seems to be a fake job ad on Adzuna, you have every right (and we expect you to) report it by using the Give Feedback function. You can also get in touch with the SARS anti-fraud division by sending an email to or get in touch with the Southern African Fraud Prevention Services if you’ve been scammed with an online job offer.