As much as your happy-go-lucky, well-connected peers or your boomer parents may deny it: Jobs. Are. Scarce. Otherwise, why would there be a growing trend of scammers using job postings to extract your personal information (back in the early 2000s, it was a winning lottery notice or a long lost royal uncle, heh, remember?) or to get you to work for free? It’s because most people realize that middle-class jobs have largely disappeared. Due to globalism, free trade and technological advancements, not much actual labor is needed anymore here in America, and nothing was done to prepare our generation for this phenomenon – this leaves a huge population of stressed out young people whose judgement, clouded by desperation for employment, is easily taken advantage of by attractive job offers from scammers. Because I care about the well-being of my starving millennial peers, I want to provide a few signs that should immediately register as a red flag during your job search.

Signs of a Job Scam

Scammers are getting better and better at their game, and sometimes it’s not so easy to tell a scam apart from the real thing. But here’s a few tips to keep in mind to keep yourself safe and in check:

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is:

  • This kind of job posting offers a salary that far exceeds its requirements: “Administrative Assistant position, 1 year experience, $25/hr!” Maybe receptionists in Silicon Valley or Manhattan make that much, but I’m from the South – you better have a degree and 10 years for $25/hr (exaggerating a bit…but really, only a bit).
  • It’s a ‘work from home!’ opportunity that isn’t related to tech professions (even in this case, most companies want you within driving distance of their office). Whether it’s customer service, writing, taking surveys or what have you, expect to do hours of tedious tasks for almost no pay.

The job description describes NOTHING AT ALL!

“Our company provides exceptional services to clients in all 50 states using our PROVEN system! After learning our system, you will be well on your way to doing business with our clients as well as your own!”

…followed by some unusually high salary figure and an e-mail address that’s struggling to avoid the scam hammer (ben. jones=@yahoo .com$). I don’t know what’s with these people and their PROVEN systems, but if they can’t tell you exactly what their business is, it’s because THERE IS NONE.

The CEO wants to contact you

At a real company, the CEO generally isn’t involved in the hiring process, at least not for a lowly external applicant like you. You can guarantee this position is a scam.

It’s a (modern) Door-to-Door/Ponzi Scheme

What you think your job is…

Door-to-Door? Ponzi Scheme? Is this the 90s? Well, no, but history has a way of repeating itself in new contexts. There’s been a surge of “commission-only” contract positions in recent times. They dress it up with an attractive job title like “Outside Sales Rep” or “Account Representative” or “Outbound Marketer” with talks of “uncapped income” and “travel” and “fun”…. ha! It’s more like “take your car and go out to relentlessly bother 200 strangers in your community a day and if in the unlikely case you make a sale, you get to take home $20!” OR you can stand up in a store embarrassing yourself as you try to reel in uninterested shoppers who ignore you (guilty). Sounds like the salesmen of old, yes? These “outside” practices are basically unacceptable in modern society. People can find anything they want in the palm of their hand at the speed of light – they don’t need to be introduced to anything by a salesman. Just don’t do it people – UNLESS you are an official employee (preferably with a base salary of some sort) who is provided with leads and appointments beforehand, these people are just using the shit out of you.

…what it REALLY is.

A similar trend arising is in insurance sales. It’s like, a step above the aforementioned scams because you need a license and insurance is something that a few people actually want. However, many firms will require you to find your own leads at random and pay you commissions only. What makes this (((((job))))) even more ponzi schemish is the fact that when you and many others eventually quit from the long hours and lack of money, your boss will continue to rake in cash from the customers you enrolled.


Now that you realize a huge amount of job postings out there are scams, what’s really left for the college-educated youth? You flip burgers or work retail for $8/hr until you come up with the next hot social media app and become an overnight billionaire, no middle career required……I like them odds!