Fake Jobs—Gen Z is Falling Victim to Job Scams

Image of a keyboard with a prominent "Scam Alert" message displayed on a key, cautioning against possible scams.

Have you seen a job posting that seems too good to be true? It probably is. As job posting scams continue to rise, Gen Z and recent college graduates are proving to be the latest victims targeted amidst a challenging job market. College grads may be feeling desperate and tempted to pursue opportunities without properly vetting them, or watch as their attempts to vet employment opportunities fail.

How at Risk is Gen Z?

While Gen Z is known as digital natives for growing up with access to the internet, they are more than three times as likely to fall for online scams as baby boomers, according to a Deloitte report. The Better Business Bureau reports that people ages 18 to 24 are less likely to report a scam, and employment scams are the most reported scams by this age group.

Most job seekers—64% of Americans and 57% of Canadians—are aware of job posting scams, according to a recent Express Employment Professionals-Harris Poll survey.

Among Gen Z job seekers, 51% of Americans and 56% of Canadians are worried about falling for a job scam, and 15% of Americans and 20% of Canadians say they have fallen for one. Sixteen percent of American and 12% of Canadian Gen Z job seekers are unsure if they have, according to The Harris Poll.

Beyond being conned out of a potential job, candidates who fall for these scams may also be at risk of financial loss and identity fraud, regardless of generation. Common job scams come in the form of fake listings on job boards, texts, emails, or direct messages on social media, and may include:

  • Requests for payment in the form of wire transfer, gift cards, or check
  • Scammers impersonating company employees to obtain personal information
  • Instructions to purchase equipment required for the fake job

If you receive suspicious messages claiming to be from a company, especially if you haven’t applied there, verify the legitimacy by calling the phone number on the company’s official website, contacting a representative from the company on LinkedIn, or ignore it.

Even the most diligent job seekers can find themselves taken advantage of by job scams. Should you respond to a fake job offer or give personal information to a scammer, you may face negative consequences, but there are steps you can take.

What strategies do you use to avoid falling for job scams? Share in the comments!

To provide accurate and timely employment forecasts for job seekers, Express Employment Professionals commissions an ongoing Job Seeker Report to track employment and hiring trends across a wide range of industries.

The Job Seeker survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express among 1,002 U.S. job seekers from Oct. 31 to Nov. 10, 2023. The Job Seeker survey was conducted online within Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express among 509 Canadian job seekers from Oct. 31 to Nov. 10, 2023.

Express Employment International supports the Express Employment Professionals franchise and affiliated brands, including Specialized Recruiting Group and Express Healthcare Staffing. The Express franchise brand is an industry-leading, international staffing company with franchise locations in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

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