By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

It feels almost too good to be true.  

You just stumbled across a job posting online that looks beyond perfect…You can’t pass up this opportunity and you decide to apply. The process is going quickly and they begin to ask for more personal information in order to bring you on for the next interview phase.  

Suddenly it dawns on you, is this too good to be true? Could this be a scam?

Flexjobs revealed that for every one legitimate job posting online there are 60-70 job scams posted. With the odds of legitimacy not in your favor, you must be aware of the signs that something is a fake.

Here are five signs a job posting is a scam, and what to do when you come across them:

1. The job listing is vague and contains typos.

The job duties and the description seem vague; even the company name and mission is unclear when you read the job listing. On top of that, there are typos, grammar errors and a slew of incomplete sentences. If this is the case, this job posting was either computer generated or put together by a poorly educated person hoping to scam. Scam or not, these writing flaws and unclear motives are a reflection of the job and companies flaws.

Make the decision to speak directly with a hiring person to gain a more transparent understanding of the job and the company. If they are not able to explicitly outline what support the role would provide, then you should politely move on to other opportunities.

2. The salary is crazy.

When something seems too good to be true in the job market, it likely is. When you see a salary that makes your mouth drop, proceed with caution. You want to be hired and compensated based on your skills and merit.

Aside from an astonishingly high salary, be on the lookout for keywords such as “salary potential” or “earn cash quick” as these statements scream “Scam!” They may also request that you work for free or below minimum wage for a period of time. Do not agree to this, the U.S. Department of Labor requires by law that employees be paid minimum wage.

When you go on the job hunt, do some research to better understand the specific jobs typical salary range. Have a salary goal in mind and if it is far above, or below, request to understand how the salary is set.

3. They ask you to share personal information early on.

Be immediately aware of potential scamming if the recruiter requests credit card, bank information, address or a social security number before you sign any IRS employment paperwork.  

They may tell you these fees are needed for software, training platforms etc., but the company should be supporting these costs, or at the least, patiently waiting for you to purchase them after being hired.  

If this happens, seriously investigate the job further and if it still seems legitimate, tell them you will wait to share this information until hired. This is a major red flag of being scammed and you need to be very cautious.

4. The means of communication is unprofessional.

Similar to poorly written content, the method of communication is not professional. If they ask you to call a premium rate phone number to have an interview, or you start receiving text messages about the job and company, these are signs of being scammed.

On top of this, they may start calling you during off-business hours. If you are being called before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m., this is not only unprofessional but also not how legitimate companies operate.  

When this starts to happen if you choose to continue exploring the opportunity, let them know your prefered method of communicate is via phone and you find great value in setting up specific times in advance to talk. This may seem controlling, but you want to set clear boundaries and not let recruiters blow up your phone all hours of the day and night.

5. The company has a slew of openings posted.

As you are searching online jobs, the company with the job posting has listed many other job openings: manager, director, graphic designer, executive, etc. The company is either a sham or they have a very high turnover rate. In either instance, this is a sign that the job is not for you. The company is likely using keywords to target certain job seekers across a wider audience range in hopes of scamming more people.

Tackle this by doing research on the company. Pull up their website and search the websites job offerings. If the company is a startup or on a hiring spree it might make sense as to why there are so many jobs posted. But chances are, if the company site looks vague or doesn’t list the job offerings, you should not apply.

Bottom line, follow your gut instinct if the immediate reaction is “Wow I can’t believe this,” you shouldn’t. Proceed with caution and do some quick google searching to save you from wasting time and potentially making a big mistake.

Don’t be that person that gets scammed!

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  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.