Remote Job Fraud: How to Ensure You’re Applying for Legitimate “WFH” Positions

By iHire | October 22, 2020

computer with a fraud alert notification

Remote jobs are appealing for several reasons. Working from home (“WFH”) often comes with flexibility, autonomy, minimal disruptions, and an improved work-life balance. Searching online for the perfect remote job takes time, effort, and patience – and a bit of caution.

Fraudulent remote jobs are on the rise due to COVID-19, as more companies are allowing employees to work from home. In fact, online recruiting schemes have increased 295% compared to a year ago, as reported in the Hartford Courant. Why?

Cybercriminals are eager to take advantage of job seekers who are desperate for work or have a strong desire to work from home during these uncertain times. Fraudsters commonly pose as potential employers to launder money, ship illegal goods, steal identities, among other unlawful acts.

Unfortunately, some job seekers have been duped by remote job scams and didn’t realize it until they were “hired.” If you’re wondering how to know if a remote job is legitimate, consider these five red flags.


1. Something feels “off.”

You were born with intuition and instincts for a reason. If you’re reading a job post or interviewing with an organization via phone and something seems “off” or feels too good to be true, do some additional research. It’s easy to get excited when the seemingly perfect “WFH” opportunity arises, but tread with caution and maintain objectivity in your search.


2. You’re asked for personal financial information.

If you’re asked for personal financial information, such as bank account details or your social security number, before filling out onboarding paperwork (e.g., background checks or direct deposit forms), you’ve come across a major red flag. Never provide this information without first ensuring the validity of the employer and the job opportunity.


Confused job seeker submitting credit card information online


3. It’s difficult to find information about the company.

Always research and do your due diligence to learn more about the company, hiring manager, or recruiter that contacts you about a remote job. If you can’t find those details or the information you do find doesn’t add up, then move on.


4. You’re quickly given a job offer.

We all love the idea of applying for a job and not having to wait weeks to find out if we’re being considered for the role. Still, the recruiting process takes time. If you apply to or interview for a position and are almost immediately offered the job, dig further into the opportunity.


5. The job posting is unprofessional.

If a job posting has grammatical and spelling errors or includes a personal email address for the point of contact, then the posting likely falls into the remote job scams bucket.


Frustrated job seeker trying to research company online


What to Do If You Realize You Applied for a Scam Job

There are several stories out there where individuals received an offer or began working for a company and soon realized that something wasn’t quite right. If this happens to you, report the company or individual who hired you to the authorities as soon as possible.

You also want to report the job to the job board or recruitment platform where it was posted. And, if you come across any potentially fraudulent remote jobs during your job search, report them to the job board, too.


Find a remote job on iHire.


How to Find Legitimate Work From Home Jobs on iHire

iHire’s dedicated content team curates and verifies more than 1 million jobs daily from 30,000 sources to bring you the most relevant, legitimate remote jobs. Get started searching for remote jobs across iHire’s 57 talent communities. If you’re signed into your account, look for jobs marked with the blue “Remote Work” tag.