Some job seekers are being targeted with “bait-and-switch” scams because they’re not sophisticated in discerning what’s a legitimate job opportunity or not. Scammers are putting together job postings that look like they’re from real companies. They might even use the real company’s name and logo, but the e-mail address it originates from shows a Yahoo! or Gmail account. Some of these scam opportunities are also coming through disguised as LinkedIn connection requests or job postings. You have to look very closely at the details in order to determine that it’s actually not a legitimate opportunity.

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

Some scammers don’t even bother to make it look like the job opening is with a major company — instead, they’ll just make up a job opportunity in the hopes of hooking unsuspecting job seekers. This take on “catfishing” (where an unsuspecting individual pursues a relationship with a fictional boyfriend or girlfriend) is popular because it costs the scammer little or no money, and is very effective.

4 must-knows about bait-and-switch job offers:

1.         The purpose of these fake listings is to collect the job seeker’s Social Security number, credit card information, and/or bank account information, which is then used to access their bank account or steal their identity. This is sometimes done by requesting that the applicant pay to have his or her credit score checked or a background check done, and the job seeker is directed to a scam website where their personal information will be harvested and stolen.

2.         The scammer posts dozens or hundreds of listings for free on Craigslist (the site doesn’t charge for job postings in most U.S. cities), and if they get even a small percentage of job seekers to fall for the scam, they can make tens of thousands of dollars.

3.         “Bait-and-switch” offers can exist on any niche job board, or even the “big boards” like and For example, a recruiter might post a job listing for a job that doesn’t actually exist — they just want to collect resumes to build their database of candidates. On Craigslist, Monster, or CareerBuilder, these scams might be posted to get leads for multi-level marketing opportunities, or it might be to build a database of job seekers so they can sell them.

4.         Fake job postings are more likely to appear on Craigslist because the listing is free. The scammer might have to pay a couple hundred dollars to list it on — and some of them actually do.

For job seekers, Craigslist can be a legitimate source of job opportunities, especially for people who work in hourly, part-time, or contract positions. Unfortunately, scammers are causing job seekers to miss out on legitimate work opportunities when they ignore Craigslist as a source of job postings because of the possibility of fraud.