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How to Spot and Avoid Job Scams: A Guide for Junior Tech Professionals

In the digital age, finding your first or next tech position online has never been easier. Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated, often masquerading as legitimate employers to prey on unsuspecting job seekers. In a recent discussion in our Web Dev Path Slack community, we highlighted the importance of vigilance when searching for tech jobs online. Here’s how you can arm yourself with knowledge and avoid falling victim to scams.

1. Research the Company Thoroughly

Before you even consider applying, do a deep dive into the company. A legitimate business should have a strong online presence, including a professional website, social media accounts, and reviews or mentions in industry publications. The red flags raised regarding a suspicious job posting—for instance, may be the absence of employees on LinkedIn and the lack of substantial information on the company's website—are prime examples of warning signs to look out for.

Actionable Tips:

  • Verify the company’s existence through multiple sources, not just LinkedIn. A genuine company typically has a website, social media presence, and other online footprints that align with its name and profile.
  • Google the company name and look for any red flags or warning signs. Sometimes people who have come across job scams will post their experiences or questions on platforms like Reddit, Quora, or Trustpilot. Look for reviews or discussions about the company in professional forums or on platforms like Glassdoor. You can learn a lot from the experiences and opinions of current or former employees, as well as other job seekers who have interacted with the company.
  • Check the domain name of the company’s website and email address on This useful tool can provide information about when and where the domain was registered, as well as who owns it. If you notice that the domain is quite new, has a different name or location compared to the company, or is hidden behind a proxy service, it might be an indication that it could be a scam.
  • Verify the contact details of the company and the recruiter. Legitimate companies tend to provide clear and professional information such as phone numbers, email addresses, and physical locations. If the contact details are vague, inconsistent, or use free email services like Gmail or Yahoo, be wary.

2. Analyze the Job Posting

Scammers often post job listings that seem too good to be true, such as offering exceptionally high salaries for junior positions or requiring minimal experience for roles that typically demand more.

Actionable Tips:

  • Be wary of vague job descriptions and listings that lack detailed responsibilities or qualifications. A legitimate job posting will have a clear and specific description of the role, the skills and experience required, and the expectations and benefits of working for the company.
  • Question high salaries for entry-level positions, especially if they're significantly above market rate. A legitimate employer could offer a competitive and realistic salary that matches the level and scope of the job, and will not try to entice you in with false or exaggerated promises.

3. Beware of the Recruitment Process

A legitimate hiring process involves multiple stages, including interviews, technical assessments, and often, interactions with multiple team members. If a company offers you a job with little to no interview process, it’s a red flag. Scammers might also ask for personal information too early in the process or require payment to proceed with your application.

Actionable Tips:

  • Never pay to apply for a job or to purchase equipment directly through a link provided by the recruiter. This is a common tactic used by scammers to steal your money or personal information. A real employer wouldn't ever ask you for any money up front or any kind of payment.
  • Be cautious if you're offered a position without a formal interview or vetting process. This could mean that the job is not genuine. A reputable employer will want to assess your skills, qualifications, and overall suitability for the role.
  • Check the recruiter’s profile on LinkedIn and see if it is complete and well-connected. A legitimate recruiter will have a detailed and professional profile with a clear photo, a summary of their experience, and endorsements or recommendations from others.They will also have a large network of connections, particularly in the industry or field that they are hiring for.
  • Verify the email domain of the recruiter and the company. Be careful of generic or suspicious email addresses, such as free services Gmail or Yahoo, or those that have misspellings, typos or extra characters. A legitimate recruiter will typically use a company email address that matches the company name and website.
  • Even if the email domain appears legit, be aware that email spoofing can be used to manipulate the email header in the hopes of tricking the recipient into thinking the email came from someone legit. Email spoofing is a technique that changes the sender’s address or name to make it look like it came from a trusted source. To protect yourself, double-check the email header for any red flags, such as mismatched domains, or reply-to addresses.
  • Be careful if you’re approached for a job via text message or WhatsApp. Legitimate recruiters are not known to reach out to candidates this way, as it can be unprofessional and inefficient. Sometimes, these jobs are vague, such as “Are you interested in a full, part time or WFH job role?” or they could be tech/developer specific roles. SMS messages can also be spoofed to appear like they’re coming from a local phone number, when in fact they are from a different country or region. Additionally, scammers can use stolen or fake phone numbers, such as those generated by Google Voice or other services, to text you from what appears to be a local area code.
  • A tool called allows you to scan files and URLs for viruses, malware and other threats. It can be useful for checking the legitimacy of attachments or links that you receive from potential employers or recruiters. However this is not a foolproof way to detect job scams as some scammers can disguise their malicious intent so be careful when opening or clicking on anything that seems suspicious.

4. Protect Your Personal Information

Some scammers' primary goal is to harvest personal details for data farming or identity theft. Be judicious about the information you share, especially in initial communications.

Actionable Tips:

  • Only provide necessary personal details after verifying the legitimacy of the job offer. Do not share any sensitive information, such as your social insurance number or social security number, bank account, or credit card details. Make sure to only provide these details if you are confident that the employer is legitimate and has a valid reason for requesting them.
  • Use job search platforms that have robust privacy policies and security measures. Choose reputable and reliable websites that protect your data and identity. Be cautious and refrain from clicking on any suspicious or unsolicited links that may introduce phishing scams or malware attacks.
  • Consider using a new or separate email address specifically for your job search that you can easily discard later that isn’t linked to any confidential information. This way, you can reduce the risk of spam, identity theft, or hacking, and keep your personal and professional emails separate.
  • Have multi-factor authentication (MFA) activated on your email address, preferably using an authenticator app. This can prevent unauthorized access to your email account and the information stored in it, if your email and password are involved in a data breach.
  • Check to see if your email address or password have been compromised in a data breach. If it has, you should change your password and enable MFA as soon as possible.
  • If you have a Gmail address, you can take advantage of Google Security to scan and check if your email address or password is on the dark web. The dark web is a hidden part of the internet that is often used for illegal or malicious activities, such as selling stolen data or credentials.

5. Trust Your Instincts

If something feels off, it probably is. Allow your intuition to lead to a closer examination of a dubious job posting, ultimately protecting yourself from potential exploitation.

Actionable Tips:

  • If you have doubts, seek advice from mentors or peers within your professional network.
  • Use online forums and communities, like Reddit or specialized tech forums, to seek opinions and share experiences.


In our collective effort against job scams, knowledge, and vigilance are our best defenses. By sharing experiences and supporting one another, we can create a safer job search environment for all tech professionals. Remember, if a job opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. Stay curious, stay cautious, and let’s keep the score in our favor: Scammers: 0. Applicants: 1.

Top comments (3)

poorvaxshukla profile image
Poorva Shukla

Super helpful;
We all need to stay cautious

klesand profile image

Absolutely! Also, glad to hear the article was helpful.

magdaleman62334 profile image
Magdale Mandala

Now scammers are around both online and in real life and it does not matter what you order whether it is a service on the Internet or let's say an above-ground pool. It is always necessary to check the information and its authenticity, whether it is an advertisement or the advice of some blogger. More about above ground pool fraud and how to avoid it in this article, the mechanism on how not to fall for such tricks works for all areas both online and offline.