Avoiding Common Canadian Job Scams

A job search is already a vulnerable process, especially if you’re a newcomer to Canada and unfamiliar with the local job market. You have to manage the anxiety of uncertainty, financial stress, and the absence of your professional network back home. All of this can make you a target for job scams, which is why we’ve compiled a quick guide to common employment scams, red flags to look out for, and tips to verify that job offers are legitimate.

Common Employment Scams

It’s important to be familiar with some of the more common employment scams.

  • Counterfeit cheque scam:  In this scheme, scammers pose as employers or recruiters and send counterfeit cheques to those who have applied for remote work or freelance positions — usually to purchase items such as office equipment. The cheque appears legitimate and is often accompanied by instructions to deposit it into the recipient’s bank account. Once the funds are deposited, the scammer typically requests that a portion of the money be sent back. However, the cheque is eventually discovered to be fake.
  • Financial agent scam: Another employment scam in Canada is the financial agent scam, which often targets individuals seeking opportunities in the financial sector. In this scheme, job seekers are recruited as financial agents with promises of high commissions. However, their role primarily involves facilitating fraudulent financial transactions, such as money laundering or processing illegal transactions on behalf of the scammer. Despite the initial allure, individuals who become ensnared in this scam face severe legal consequences and financial liabilities.

Red Flags

Scammers are always adapting, so it’s important to ensure that you are also aware of the major red flags.

  • Beware of unsolicited messages offering lucrative job opportunities.
    Example: You receive an unexpected email claiming to offer a job opportunity with a well-known company. The message promises high pay and flexible working conditions, despite you never having applied for the position. You become suspicious when the email asks for personal information upfront, such as your bank account details or Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  • Watch out for poorly written or unprofessional emails.
    Example: You receive an email from a supposed recruiter expressing interest in your resume. However, upon reading the email, you notice numerous spelling and grammatical errors, as well as a lack of professionalism in the tone and formatting.
  • If an offer seems too good to be true it likely is.
    Example: You, a recent graduate looking for employment opportunities, come across a job posting online offering an exorbitant salary for an entry-level position with minimal experience required. Despite feeling excited about the prospect of such high earnings, you’re skeptical.

Final Tips

Here are some final tips to avoid scams, and what to do if you think you have been scammed.

  • Verify legitimacy by thoroughly checking the company’s website. Carefully review its content, including its mission statement, products or services offered, and contact information. Pay attention to any discrepancies or inconsistencies that may indicate a fraudulent operation. Additionally, look for online reviews, testimonials, or news articles about the company to gather insights from other individuals’ experiences.
  • Conduct comprehensive research on any organization you’re considering applying to and use multiple sources of information. Explore online platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and industry-specific forums to gather insights from employee reviews, company ratings, and community discussions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your professional network or community organizations for recommendations and advice.
  • Trust your instincts. If something feels off or raises suspicion, take the time to investigate further before proceeding. Ask probing questions, seek clarification on ambiguous details, and request additional information or documentation to validate the legitimacy of the opportunity.


For more information on reporting scams, you can visit the Canadian Government’s Guide on How to Report Fraud and Scams in Canada.




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