How to Spot the Scam: Your Guide to Job Searching Online

How to Spot the Scam:

Your Guide to Job Searching Online

While online searching gives job seekers access to thousands of legitimate new positions every day, the unfortunate reality is that career hopefuls will also find themselves running into fake postings and scams throughout their search.

Online scams have always been present, but have become even more prevalent in the wake of COVID-19. According to recent data from the Federal Trade Commission, in Q2 of 2020, more than 11,000 income scams were reported, a 70% increase from reports captured in Q2 of 2019.

So, what do you look for? How can you best equip yourself to sort through what is real and what is a scam? We have developed the guide below to help you evaluate the legitimacy of job postings.

Jack would call it magic beans. Trust your gut when it comes to “opportunities” that seem too good to be true. If there is something that gives you pause or the salary and expectations simply do not line up, it is likely a scam. There are rarely times when a six-figure salary requires no experience or training.

Language that is non-specific. When someone says they work for “a company” and cannot offer detailed job duties, qualifications or verifiable contact information, they are most likely phishing for personal information from you.

Riddled with typos. Take a look at the grammar, spelling and punctuation in the job posting and ongoing communications. We are all human and the occasional error is not a hard stop, but real companies hire people who can write a polished and professional job description.

Vague follow-up avenues. If you don’t see an official way to get in touch, dig deeper. One method is to look at the signature line in your contact’s email address. If the email doesn’t include the company’s name, address or phone number, they may not be real. If the communication does not come from an official company email address and instead uses Gmail or another personal email server, it can be a big red flag. 

All you need to get started is your firstborn and a drop of blood. If you haven’t been hired or even spoken with a live person yet and they are asking you for your social security number or bank account information, it’s a scam. Another tip: before entering personal information online, make sure the website is secure by looking at the web address bar. The address should read https://, not http://.

First step is $$$. Some scammers ask for your personal bank account to transfer money from one account to another claiming it’s part of their onboarding or equipment purchase process. This is money laundering and it’s illegal. Other scams ask you to receive and forward packages from your home. These packages might contain stolen goods or illegal substances. Keep in mind, if you were scammed and didn’t know it, you can still be held liable. 

There is no in-person interaction. On its own, this does not guarantee a scam, especially in the COVID world of virtual interviewing and remote work. Many companies conduct interviews via phone, Zoom, Skype or Google Meet. However, if the interviewer is trying to connect exclusively through a chat or messaging app (WhatsApp, Yahoo, etc.), it’s cause for concern. If you haven’t spoken with them over the phone, that’s another good indicator it may be a scam.

Where’s waldo? You should research each company before you ever even submit an application with your name and contact information to them. Get to know their website, social media presence and any recent news or updates. If you can’t find anything at all – it’s probably a scam. However, even if you do find a website, it doesn’t always mean they are legitimate. A lot of scammers set up fake websites to draw people in, and other scammers will use actual companies (without their knowledge) as a front. If you have any concerns, ALWAYS contact the company’s headquarters by finding a verified email address or corporate phone number.

Method of Notification. Not all interview notifications are calls – they may come in the form of email, text or LinkedIn message. Similarly, many companies have turned to a completely virtual interview process. Just because it’s not a call from corporate headquarters doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate opportunity. If you don’t recall applying directly to their company, don’t be afraid to ask questions such as how they received your contact information or why they selected your profile or resume.

Staffing agency. Some companies pay third-party agencies to hire and onboard their employees. This is a quick and easy way for employers to expand their recruiting pool of talent and pass off many of the administrative tasks that come with new hires. Do your research to find out more about the relationship between the agency and the company they are staffing. 

Delayed Interview. Sometimes an interviewer will hold on to your resume and reach out months later after receiving a confirmed contract or approved budget for the position. It’s not unrealistic to hear from an employer several months after your application was submitted, but it’s best to keep a running list of all your applications and communications so you can track each one and put in the same research and due diligence as if you’d just applied. 

Various Recruiters. Oftentimes a company will have a few dozen recruiters working on openings at any given time, it is not uncommon to get an email from one recruiter but to have the interview with a different recruiter. Be sure to check their email addresses and LinkedIn pages if anything feels out of place once you’ve been passed on to a new contact.

Being asked to interview for a job you didn’t apply for. This is a very common situation. Here at Hire Heroes USA, we may have submitted you for an IT role, but the recruiter took a look at your resume and decided you’re a better fit for a Program Manager role. Don’t automatically decline the interview because the job description differs from your initial application. Even if this new role may not be ideal for you, we recommend taking the interview to network and practice interviewing. You never know when having a contact at that company will come in handy!

Not all scams are easy to uncover. Scammers know job seekers are keen to their tricks, so they adapt and change with the times. At the end of the day, your gut instinct and your research will be your two best resources to prevent from being scammed. For additional information on this topic, visit the Federal Trade Commission

If you’re interested in receiving free career support with Hire Heroes USA, click here to learn more.

Hire Heroes USA & SmileDirectClub Foundation Veterans Day Match

Hire Heroes USA, SmileDirectClub Foundation Announce Donation Match to Benefit Veterans and Military Spouses

Hire Heroes USA and the SmileDirectClub Foundation announced a significant commitment to support veterans, service members and military spouses seeking civilian employment. Their partnership is based on a shared mission of empowering individuals as they transition to new opportunities.

To celebrate this joint effort, the SmileDirectClub Foundation has committed to triple the impact of each donation made to Hire Heroes USA’s Veterans Day Campaign, Heroes Among Us, up to $50,000.

Heroes Among Us honors the veterans, service members and military spouses who embody service over self. Hire Heroes USA provides free, personalized career services that equip clients with the tools they need to secure rewarding careers. With every $1,000 raised, a veteran, service member or military spouse will begin a new, rewarding career in the civilian workforce. The Heroes Among Us campaign begins Nov. 1 and runs through Veterans Day.

“The SmileDirectClub Foundation is honored to support the important work of Hire Heroes USA. We could not think of a better way to celebrate and thank veterans and their families for their service than ensuring they have the tools, skills and confidence they need to transition into the next phase of their careers. We hope that by providing a matching gift others are inspired to join us in donating to Hire Heroes USA,” said John Sheldon, CMO of SmileDirectClub and President of the SmileDirectClub Foundation Board.

The SmileDirectClub Foundation’s generous pledge ensures more veterans, service members, and spouses will have access to employment resources that result in professional success and financial security for veteran and military families across the United States and abroad.

“The SmileDirectClub Foundation’s commitment to empowering heroes through transitions parallels our mission of empowering these same individuals as they transition into new careers.  The foundation supports and strengthens entire communities, including the veterans and military spouses we serve. We are honored and grateful for their support and partnership, and we look forward to making a meaningful impact together on our veteran and military families now and for years to come,” said Hire Heroes USA CEO Andrew Sandoe.

About Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit organization that empowers US military members, veterans and spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce. We offer individualized career coaching, professionally written resumes, mentoring, workshops, a job board, career fairs and more, to tens of thousands of job-seeking veterans and military spouses annually. Funded exclusively through public donations and private grants, our services are always free to clients. 

In 2020, we helped 11,580 service members, veterans and military spouses find gainful employment. Since Hire Heroes USA’s founding, more than 60,000 Hire Heroes USA clients have found success in their job search.

All Hire Heroes services are being offered online or over the phone during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes our volunteer services, which allow industry professionals to mentor and guide clients during their job search. Hire Heroes USA prioritizes transparency, earning a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the GuideStar Platinum Seal. For more information about our organization, visit

About SmileDirectClub Foundation

The SmileDirectClub Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that makes charitable grants to other non-profit organizations. Its mission is to empower the heroic, the vulnerable and those at risk to gain the tools, skills and confidence they need to put their best face forward as they transition to new phases in their education or careers. 

The Foundation establishes partnerships with non-profit organizations that serve people who live in the Nashville area, where the Foundation is based, the United States and those across the globe. 

To learn more about the Heroes Among Us campaign or to make a donation, click here.

Heroes Among Us: Patrick

Heroes Among Us: Patrick

Patrick Cunningham refuses to call himself a hero. For him, it’s a title reserved for the other service members who served alongside him for 20 years, and anyone who goes above and beyond to provide for others before themselves. Patrick simply wants to pay it forward and avoid the recognition, especially now that he’s successfully completed his transition from the United States Army.

Patrick Cunningham in Afghanistan in 2012.

While he may not call himself a hero, he still embodies the same sense of service and courage that guided his entire military career.

“I officially joined the Army on Sept. 5, 2001, so a few days before 9/11,” Patrick said. “My mother told me that I didn’t have to go. She tells me this every time on my Army anniversary. The response that I gave back was  ‘If I’m not willing to fight for my country, who will?'”

Patrick’s commitment to that mission continued for more than 20 years. During that time, he completed five deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. However, when it was time for him to trade in his boots for a suit and tie this year, Patrick didn’t have a resume or one-on-one support as he prepared to move into the civilian workforce.

“I don’t think they really prepared me to get out, that’s what all of these other organizations did for me,” Patrick explained. “If I had to do it all by myself, I probably wouldn’t be in the same position that I’m in today.” 

A friend referred him to Hire Heroes USA, as he was getting ready to transition from the military. That proved to be a turning point in his career search.

“It allowed me to actually stay focused on what was important during my transition at that time , because it was a lot. It can be easy to be overwhelmed.”

For Patrick, it meant one-on-one support from his dedicated Transition Specialist. She worked with him to build a resume that explained his accomplishments and responsibilities in the armed forces in a measurable and easy-to-understand way. Once he had that document, everything changed.

Patrick and his family.

“Once I started sending it to people, I started getting phone calls back,” Patrick said. “Talking to people, for me, has always been easy. But it’s getting to that conversation that’s hard.”

True to his word, once that first door opened, Patrick took full advantage. One of those conversations eventually led him to secure a 12-week fellowship, followed by an offer for a full-time position as a Human Resources Specialist with with SimulTV in August.

“Being a non-commissioned officer in the Army was about helping people, it seemed like a pretty easy transition to go into Human Resources because really that’s what you’re doing- is trying to help the employees of a company. That was a natural fit, allowing me to continue to help people and to grow a career in the civilian world.”

Finding a rewarding career has provided a new sense of purpose, continuing to build on the momentum that the Army gave him for two decades. As his fellow soldiers prepare to leave the armed forces, Patrick wants every single one to know about the help that Hire Heroes USA offers to service members, veterans and military spouses.

“I would recommend this program to anybody. If you’re getting out of the Army after three years or after 30, the professionals here will definitely help you.”

This Veterans Day, Hire Heroes USA is honoring the Heroes Among Us: the service members, veterans and military spouses who model service over self every day. This year, give the gift of empowerment and professional success to heroes like Patrick.

Thanks to the SmileDirectClub Foundation, each donation’s impact will be tripled.

Junior Enlisted Program: David’s Story

Junior Enlisted Program: David’s Story

David Williams
Latest posts by David Williams (see all)

Since joining Hire Heroes USA in June 2020, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of clients, learning each person’s unique stories and experiences at varying phases of their careers. However, when the chance to focus specifically on the junior enlisted population became available earlier this year, I knew this was where I needed to be. 

David Williams in 1999 at Camp Casey, South Korea.

I know I’m not the only one who experienced their first time on an airplane on the way to basic training. I enlisted into the U.S. Army as a private right after graduating from high school in 1998. Joining the Army meant a lot of first experiences, from leaving my family for the first time to learning a whole new way of life.  Becoming a father at a young age only added to the mix; the challenge of raising a family on a junior enlisted budget was an experience in itself. Learning to think strategically, adapt, and make ends meet on a small salary drove me to further my education in finance and sustain my military career into retirement.

My initial job in the Army was a fire support specialist. My role was to identify enemy targets and call in artillery fire to destroy them. At the age of 22, I had the honor of leading soldiers into combat during the initial invasion of Iraq, kicking off the war that would become known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. While on a patrol during this deployment, we were injured when our vehicle was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). One of my soldiers was airlifted out of the country due to his injuries; however, we were all aware of how blessed we were to have survived and be able to tell our story. Though we received Purple Hearts for this life-altering event, it was a pivotal moment in which I discovered I had another purpose – and that purpose is to coach and mentor people who had been in the same boots I walked in during my early years of service.

David with his family in 2020.

When I received orders to be an Army recruiter, I knew that was my chance to have an impact on someone’s life in the same way mine had been impacted. I loved knowing that I helped people make a positive, life-changing decision. Years later, I was asked to be the best man in the wedding of one of my early recruits – a perfect example of how important these young service members were to me. Later in my military career, I climbed the ranks and eventually retired from the service in 2020 as a senior noncommissioned officer and an accomplished mentor.

Hire Heroes USA has allowed me to continue my service to veterans and their families as a Transition Specialist in Hire Heroes USA’s Junior Enlisted Program. In this role, I spend the bulk of my working day coaching and mentoring junior enlisted service members and veterans. I’m also involved in my community through coaching youth sports as well as volunteering with various nonprofits, including serving on the board of directors for one of the organizations.

My combined life experiences and the challenges I faced along the way allow me to share with other veterans how to navigate this journey we call life.

David Williams is a Transition Specialist with Hire Heroes USA’s Junior Enlisted Program. If you’re interested in receiving free career support with Hire Heroes USA, click here to learn more.

Volunteer Spotlight: Elwyn

Volunteer Spotlight: Elwyn

At Hire Heroes USA, we focus on employment because we believe a successful career transition is essential to laying a stable foundation for life after the military. But there are so many factors beyond salary that make a veteran or military spouse’s new career meaningful – and that matters. Volunteer Elwyn Rainer understands that. 

Elwyn was first introduced to our organization when his company, Humana, Inc., shared a volunteer opportunity.

Hire Heroes USA Volunteer Elwyn Rainer

 “I reviewed the mission of Hire Heroes USA and it reminded me of the years I spent serving with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs,” he explained. In that role, he got to know veterans and their individual stories. He found meaning in building relationships and being able to offer constructive advice from his perspective as an IT professional. “Learning about the goals and aspirations of veterans brought me great joy, as well as being a part of their journey,” he remembers. 

Elwyn jumped at the chance to work with veterans again and joined the Hire Heroes USA volunteer team in July 2020. “The most rewarding part has been helping each veteran or their spouse see the bigger picture of what life could be after the military,” he said. 

Without the rigid structure of a military career, there are new attributes to consider like commute time, the possibility of remote work and the amount of paid time off offered in a benefits package. All of these factors inform which career path would truly suit a veteran and their family well. Wherever they are in their journey, Elwyn reminds every client: “You have value to add and your expertise is important. Know that you have options and can make the best decision when you have all the information in front of you.”

Additionally, Elwyn is able to offer professional insight into two of the most in-demand industries: IT and cybersecurity. In his own words, he focuses on “letting [clients] know that they have options and developing a plan that empowers them to move forward with confidence.” He has provided tangible tools for clients including mock interviews and career counseling, and has even hosted a professional development session for Hire Heroes USA staff members on best practices and tactics for salary negotiation.

He would challenge other professionals to think of ways they could use their experience to serve others. “We all know someone directly or indirectly thinking about what they can do based on their skillset,” he explains. “We as professionals can guide [veterans] in the direction that fits with their expertise.” He further encourages others “to listen to the needs of our veterans and their spouses, as well as show them the way through leveraging the resources that are available.” 

When asked about his commitment to this cause, Elwyn explained that he stays involved “because it is fulfilling as a driven influencer to give back and honor the men and women that have served our country.” Elwyn’s impact has certainly been meaningful to the veterans and military spouses he has worked with. Since he first joined the volunteer team, he has dedicated 28 hours to helping individuals find the next step in their journey. We are incredibly fortunate to count Elwyn as a partner in this mission. 

If you would like to make a difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses, please click here to learn more about volunteering with Hire Heroes USA.

Top Jobs & Training Programs for October 2021

Top Jobs & Training Programs for October 2021

Every month, Hire Heroes USA selects several job openings from our job board to highlight. These job openings are posted by partnered employers who are looking to hire veteran and military spouse talent.

View jobs from our featured employer this month, Purdue Research Foundation. Also, be sure to check out several of our training partners by downloading the document below.

Click here to download the newsletter.