If you're unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed, Craigslist job ads are probably a regular stop in your browser of choice.
But if you're relying on the popular website's classified ads to find employment opportunities, you also have to watch out for employment scams. Not every job posted on Craigslist reflects a position in the real world that's worth applying for, according to an article at UnemploymentHandbook.com.
It's a waste of time to write out a resume and cover letter for a job that's not even there, so here are some signs of a potential scam when you're looking at job ads online:
No skills required. Sure it's nice to find entry-level jobs, but even those require some skills, even if it's just using a computer. Hundreds of people are applying for these jobs, which makes your chances pretty slim, so it may not be worth your time unless the job looks amazing. If you see a high salary combined with "no skills required," it's almost certainly a scam.
"Mystery shopper" positions. Jobs for mystery shopping where the mystery-shopping "employee" gets a check and wires leftover money back to a "company" are bad news. Those kinds of wire transfer schemes are almost always scams to cheat you out of your money when the checks bounce. If an ad asks you to do that, run the other way.
Ads that seek unnecessary personal info. For a job application, all you should have to submit is your name and prior work experience. Bank information and credit reports are not relevant, and it's generally not legal for employers to ask for them during interviews anyway. Don't give out personal information when you're applying for a job unless you want to be a victim of identity theft. You can always provide it when you're hired, if necessary.
No company name. When you're applying to jobs, it's helpful to do some homework on the hiring companies so you know if they will be a good fit. That's impossible to do if there's no company name in the ad. It also makes it less likely the job is legitimate, since employers want you to gauge your interest in the company before applying. If you don't see a company name, you may not want to apply.
Ads that redirect. The majority of Craigslist ads allow you to respond directly to the email provided with your cover letter and resume. But some redirect you to a new website and ask you to fill out information on that page instead. Large corporations like hotel chains may work this way, but it's unlikely legitimate smaller employers would go to this trouble. In general, it's best to steer clear of these ads, and instead look for ones that will accept your job application directly.