SINGAPORE: While International Fraud Awareness Week has ended, scams are still a real threat in Asia, especially in the job market. Job scams have surged in Singapore, with over 6,000 falling victim this year, resulting in losses of S$97 million, according to the Singapore Police Force.

To tackle the rise in job scams, employment platforms are turning to technology. JobStreet, for instance, has implemented strong systems to verify job ads. Between July 2022 and June 2023, its parent company, SEEK, scanned 7.8 million job ads across Asia Pacific. About 10% were manually reviewed, leading to the exclusion of 1,900 hirers, the closure of 350 hirer accounts due to fraud, and the removal of over 2,800 suspicious job ads.

10 signs that a job offer could be a scam

As scams get more sophisticated, people need to be “savvy” to spot the signs that a job offer could be a scam and avoid falling into the scammer’s traps. Scammers have shifted from using fear tactics to building trust, making it easier for victims to let their guard down. Sometimes, scams can also happen when job seekers have too much “eagerness to secure a position,” overlooking the red flags.

To minimise the impact of fraud, here are the top 10 signs that a job offer could be a scam, according to JobStreet:

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1. Unnecessary calls

Bad actors frequently make repeated calls, attempting to coerce you into accepting their offer. They often assert that you could miss out on a job opportunity if you do not respond or agree immediately to their terms.

2. Requests for sensitive information

Bad actors seeking to obtain your information will often demand your personal details right away. They may ask for documents like proof of residence or financial statements, promising immediate access to job opportunities. However, reputable companies typically do not ask for such documentation until the interview or onboarding process.

3. Sketchy software or fake websites

A reputable employer will use standard and well-known software for online interviews. If they ask you to install something you’ve never heard of, it might be a sign that something’s off.

In addition, as virtually anyone can create and manage a website, scammers frequently establish online platforms posing as fictional employers or fabricate channels for legitimate companies. A clear red flag with these accounts is their lack of substantial information or if the company is untraceable and has no online presence.

4. Unrealistic promises or job offers

Keep an eye out for job listings that promise sky-high salaries or benefits that sound too good to be true. Scammers often use these enticing offers to lure in unsuspecting victims.

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5. Unprofessional communication

Pay attention to the language, grammar, and overall tone of the communication. Legitimate employers typically maintain a professional and polished demeanour. If you notice numerous spelling errors, sloppy language, or inconsistent communication, it may be a red flag.

6. Requires no interview

Exercise caution if the hiring process excludes a job interview. If the employer displays little interest in you, that might be a sign they are more interested in your wallet than you as a person. This suggests they don’t place importance on your personality or how well you align with their company culture.

7. Provides malicious links

Bad actors can go to great lengths to deceive their targets, designing websites and mobile apps that appear professional and legitimate, urging applicants to register via them. Be careful when clicking on links during the job application process, as they may lead to fraudulent applications designed solely to extract your bank account or credit card information.

8. Vague or incomplete job requirements and descriptions

Real job offers provide clear and detailed job responsibilities and requirements that closely match the position described. Conversely, fake job offers and dubious recruiters tend to present ambiguous, vague, and overly generalised job roles, duties, and requirements, making it possible for almost anyone to qualify.

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9. Requests for payment of placement or work equipment

Be wary if someone is asking for money right out the gate. Ethical employers will never request an upfront fee for job placement, work equipment, or training. Moreover, reputable recruiters, headhunters, and recruitment agencies generally do not impose charges on potential job seekers.

10. Accepting work abroad without an employment visa

If you are considering a job abroad, and the employer insists on you entering the country on a visitor visa instead of a valid employment visa, consider it a warning sign. It is not advisable to proceed with the trip under these circumstances, even if the employer promises to cover your flight expenses. Do not get on that flight!

JobStreet’s efforts were acknowledged at the Year-End Crime Prevention Roadshow, where Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of Social and Family Development, presented the company with a token of appreciation.

In the ongoing fight against scams, staying informed and employing advanced technology, as demonstrated by JobStreet, is crucial for a safer job-seeking experience. /TISG