Some time ago, a job seeker outside Canada told me he got a job offer from Tim Hortons in Canada, and asked me if it was a legitimate offer.

He wasn't legally allowed to work in Canada. Yet, the offer miraculously came to him. I didn't want to make him feel bad, so I asked him to send me a copy of the offer.

It was a poorly formatted document with Tim Hortons logo, signed by the CEO himself.

Rule of thumb when it comes to job offers and job listings – If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't true.

I'm going to highlight the top 7 warning signs you should watch out for from scammers preying on people's desperation for a job.

#1 Requesting Personal Information

If they are asking for your social insurance number or bank details, this is a red flag.

You only need to provide this info after a legitimate offer has been extended to you and they are processing your paper work in the organization.

#2 Upfront Payment Required

As a job seeker, you never pay a single dime to anyone. Not a third party agency, not the employer. Third party recruitment agencies get their money from the employer, not you.

Especially if you are abroad, they may ask you to send them money to process your work visa. If money is being asked, end the conversation.

#3 Ridiculously high benefits

As you can see from the pic above, "Tim Hortons" was ready to pay this person C$8,300 per month "after tax deductions" for a project manager role.

That's a director's salary at best. Not to mention, other parts of the contract mention "the employer would be responsible for the total welfare of the employee's family, including education advancement."

Google for what the average salary is for the role you are seeking to begin with. And ask your network what typical benefits employers provide.

#4 Grammatical Errors

In the offer above, apparently there is a 3 week probation period "in other" for the employee to get used to our ways.

Not only is that statement grammatically incorrect the language is so pathetically weak. "Get used to our ways"? Give me a break!

#5 Strange "Recruiter" Email Address

As much as possible, ask to initially coordinate over email. If you're getting emails from yahoo, hotmail or gmail account, that's a sign you're dealing with a scammer.

Or even if the email address has a series of numbers or characters, it's also a red flag.

#6 No In-Person or Video Interview

At some point, the emails end and in-person should begin.

If you've gotten a job offer without actually speaking to someone in person, there's a chance you're being scammed.

If there is one thing scammers hate, it's showing their faces.

#7 Upfront Job Offer

No interviews. Just a job offer right in your lap. Wow! That's some serious trust eh?


It's just another scammer hoping you'll take the bait and pay them a "small administrative fee".

Your common sense is your best weapon

I can't cover every scenario, but you get the idea.

Like I said earlier, if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. The CEO of Tim Horton's is not going to be sending offer letters to you! That itself should indicate this offer letter above was a fake.

If you're getting scammed, it's on you! It's because you did not do the research required to assess the legitimacy of the offer, or you were too blinded by your good fortunes.

Run these 7 red flags through every job offer you get to keep the scammers away.