With the convenience of the digital age come new concerns. While it is incredibly easy to network online, apply to jobs, and showcase your resume, it is also more frequent that you hear stories of catfishing, social engineering, and other scams.

On platforms like LinkedIn, and even Craigslist, scammers are posting fake job opportunities, or reaching out to candidates, in hopes of obtaining personal information for their use or even steal your money. With the pandemic and an increase in remote roles, these scams became even more prevalent.

Is there a rubric for knowing if you’re being scammed regarding a new role? The editorial team walks you through a checklist that can help you make that decision.


One woman went viral on TikTok after she sent personal identifiable information to a scammer that was disguised as a high-profile tech company hoping to recruit her.

It all seemed pretty ordinary as she applied to a posting, engaged with the recruiter through the hiring process, and scheduled an interview, though it wasn’t through the usual app like Teams or Zoom. Fairly soon after, she received a job offer she couldn’t refuse.

This candidate’s story showcases some red flags and while usually okay standing alone, seeing more than one should be cause for concern.

Here are just a few signs that you’re being scammed on a job opportunity:

  1. You never applied or they found you on an open-source platform like LinkedIn. This is a place that is notorious for bad actors.
  2. The pay is just too good to be true. Like in the TikTok story that went viral, she was just excited about the pay bump.
  3. Your research comes up empty when you are looking for the recruiter you are speaking with or the company. Small companies may not have a huge online presence, but you should be able to find something on them, particularly SAMS.
  4. The job description is written very poorly, and correspondence seems off (i.e. random capitalized letters, poor grammar, etc.)
  5. Vague job description. Even though it is commonplace for defense contracts to be copied and pasted year to year with little no information at the unclass level, there should be some meat.
  6. The recruiter sends you a suspicious URL that could be one letter off from a household name company.
  7. The recruiter sends a generic email (while recruiters do send mass messages in hopes of casting a wide net to candidates, hackers also send mass messages in hopes of getting a response…if they don’t address you by name / sound like they read your resume, think twice about moving forward).
  8. Asking for an interview via messaging service. WhatsApp is the usual suspect for OCONUS or deployed individuals…but if a recruiter is pushing it instead of a phone call or Teams chat, be cautious.

Practicing cyber hygiene is important for any individual alive in 2022. But especially for security clearance holders.


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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸