Don’t fall for a fake job ad scam

COVID-19 coronavirus update

There are reports of scammers targeting Australians with COVID-19 related scams. We recommend you read this Stay Smart Online article to see examples of emails and SMSs currently being used by scammers. Keep reading for our advice to protect yourself when applying for jobs.

When you’re looking for work you need to know how to recognise a fake job ad scam when you see one.

If you do apply for a fake job, at best, it is a massive waste of time. At worst, you could have your money and your identity stolen.

Identity theft is a risk if you fall for a fake job ad scam

10 tips to avoid a fake job ad scam

  1. Don’t put your date of birth or address on your resume or cover letter. This is identifying information that employers don’t need to know at the application stage of a job. Protect your privacy and leave it out.
  2. Don’t give your photo ID to anyone during the application process. Wait until you know you have the job and only include it with your official paperwork.
  3. Don’t give your bank account details to anyone until you know you have the job. You should never have to give this information to an employer as part of the application process. 
    Follow these tips and there is no chance you will fall for a fake job ad scam
  4. Don’t give out your tax file number. Once you get the job you will need to give it to your employer so they can set you up in their payroll system. But don’t tell anyone what it is until then, and avoid disclosing it anywhere except official tax office and payroll forms.
  5. Don’t let anybody deposit money into your bank account UNLESS it is your pay or salary. If someone asks you to hold a large sum of money in your account and says you can keep some of it, it is probably money laundering. It’s illegal and you could get into a lot of trouble if you don’t report it to your local police.
  6. Don’t pay money to apply for a job. If a potential employer tells you to do this, it is a fake job ad scam and you should report it. This also includes recruiters. They get paid by employers to find staff. Job seekers do not pay recruiters for their services.
  7. Don’t fall for a pyramid scheme. Avoid jobs that require you to pay money to join, buy and re-sell products or recruit other people to earn money.
  8. Be wary of work from home opportunities, especially if they offer you a guaranteed income or they ask you for an upfront fee.
  9. Do your research. If someone approaches you directly about a job, do your research about the business. Look up their street address on Google maps to see if it really exists. Phone them to find out more information about the job and speak to a real person. Visit their website to see if it is legitimate site.
  10. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you get offered a job that requires little effort for a lot of money, alarm bells should go off.

What to do if you find a fake job ad

Use the Report this job feature to let us know if you find a fake job ad scam

If you find a fake job ad scam on the jobactive website, or think something looks suss, you can let us know. At the bottom of every job ad there is a blue box with some information about how to protect yourself. Click Report this job if you want us to look into an ad or employer. Other job boards like Seek have the same kind of thing at the bottom of their ads too.

You can also report it to Scamwatch. If you are ever concerned that you might have been scammed or defrauded you should also report it to your local police.

Images: iStock, giphy


  1. Hi Melissa, A makeup artist has asked me to join Limelife Cosmetics. They ask for $300 to join and you get a starter kit and a website. You then try to join other people. Is this a Pyramid business?

    1. Hi Michelle. What you describe is called multi-level marketing. While it’s not illegal, I would raise caution about engaging in it.
      The issue is not many people make any actual real money from it.

      Some research suggests 99.7% of people who start this kind of business will lose money. That is not to say that some people don’t manage to make a decent living out of this kind of business – they do.

      But you just need to be fully aware of what you’re getting into and have realistic expectations of what you’ll get out of it.

  2. In reply to Scams, reading the posted content here. I believe, and my opinion. After doing much reading and having different peoples from all different back grounds both the highly educated and the general public, share their experiences to myself while doing repairs or maintenance that includes cleanup after allowing remote access to your PC or devices etc to of shore fake business. Its time now, and has to become part of the education process in Australian schools, just like stranger danger etc, crossing the road etc, and broader street wise education, but with ever growing internet connectivity to the greater world this now has problems that can be addressed through early learning education to minors. We can try educate the current major population via current news programs and bill boards and online posts and reviews. This would start a whole generation of awareness in adults and children growing up. Emails, Cold calling, and even fake Reps, door knocking This problem will never go away, ever. We can only educate and advise. I try to do my best with adults and teens, but the scammers look for any opportunity to obtain money deceitfully. And yes its about money. They try methods In way of Id theft, electronic card theft access to your PC or device with your personal information, fake Job adds, fake emails, even if you post items for sale, and this, Fake reps collecting funds from door knocking, this also includes shopping centres now when you purchase, or free a raffle ticket WOW, to house or cars ETC, you do blindly fill out all the information and I do mean all the info just in case you win right, Yea not likely but now they have your ID. This is the same of filling out online forms, this can be read in other developing countries, and your phone number is there, possibly your address for the whole world to view. Unfortunately, from my personal view and engagement with ripped off customers, Most scams as I have found, is it seems to come from 3rd world, developing countries, with high poverty and low labour wages. Awareness and experiences of these types of threat needs to be shared for all to read and make better informed judgements if put in a similar situation.
    Once the calls would come from private phone numbers, but now with IP Sip – Voip phone call spoofing, the phone number that’s been seen on your device, can be faked. That is, it looks legitimate. Same as the txt messages.
    I tell every one, if its the bank calling you, Paypal, Debt collection, Microsoft, ATO, Aust Post, DHL, AGL Gas. FIRST, ask for a reference number. Hang up politely and look up the correct number directly on Australian white pages or an Australian business register that’s ASIC or their respective government web site. Don’t use the number their telling you or a link their giving you. This goes for emails too.
    This is the safest way.

  3. Thank you, I have been caught by scammers – people using the ATO, Uber, study “opportunities” or a “great” work from home scheme as a way to trap those who are vulnerable or desperate – people offerring awesome opportunities that are truly too good to be true really hurt. There needs to be more warning for those who are just stepping out into the horrible, crazy and painful world of looking for work.

    1. Hi Melissa.

      You’re not alone. More than 150,000 scams have been reported to Scamwatch this year across all different categories. It is important to be alert and ask questions, and to report your concerns if you think something is not right. Not all scams involve a financial loss. Unfortunately there are people out there who take advantage of good, kind and trusting people. Check out this page to get more information about different types of scams and how you can protect yourself –

      Thanks for your comment. Hope you have a safe and happy new year 🙂

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