Ask ProHUB: How do I recognize scam jobs?

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

In this series, ProductionHUB employees answer frequent questions from the ProductionHUB community.

The ProductionHUB team answers:

In the digital age, fake job offers and scams are a growing concern. Scammers are becoming more and more creative in their approach, often posing as real industry professionals or companies when contacting freelancers and job seekers with employment opportunities. We’ve compiled a list of red flags to help you identify, avoid and report scams.

Scamming Language

If you receive an email or text out of the blue offering you a job, keep an eye out for the following red flags:

  • The sender already says they want to hire you before even speaking 
  • Pushy and aggressive language
  • Words such as “urgently” and “as soon as possible” used multiple times
  • Emails with few specific details
  • No personalization and it seems like it's been copy and pasted to multiple people 

For example, a recent scam reported to us was someone pretending to be acclaimed indie film director Todd Solondz. The introduction sentence read, “We got your contact from production Hub as a Makeup Artist after some consideration, so i have decided to have you work with me and the entire Todd Solondz team on a film production, which will be coming up in the next 4 weeks.”

Typically, job posts do not include this many obvious errors. A minor typo doesn’t guarantee it's a fake job offer, but pay attention to overly unprofessional grammar. 

Many scammers claim to have found contact information on ProductionHUB or other online directories to try to add validity to their offer. However, our verification process protects your contact information and prevents scammers from scraping email addresses from our website. 

Here are some other signs of scammer lingo:

  • Overly friendly, “Victorian” language
  • Using terms of endearment such as “beloved” or “my dear”
  • References to religious figures
  • The language is written by someone whose first language clearly isn’t English
  • The name in the email body doesn’t match the name on the email address
  • Exorbitant pay rates (If it's too good to be true, it probably is)
  • Job offers for a position you don’t occupy (receiving emails for a casting director job when you’re an editor, DP, etc.)
  • Saying a job is “in your area” with no specific location mentioned
  • Offering to pay wages in advance

Unusual Method of Communication

Scams don't always happen over email. Contact over Google Hangouts or texting has been reported to us. Keep in mind that many scammers are based outside of the U.S. and will contact you outside of normal working hours. If you receive an unwarranted text message, we can check your profile information to ensure they did not find your phone number on ProductionHUB. 

Use Big Producer or Company Names

Always operate with the idea that "if it's too good to be true, it probably is." Oftentimes, scammers falsely use big producer or company names to seem more credible to their targets. Recently, scammers using the names “Rian Johnson” and “John Francis Daley”  have been reported. These big names wouldn’t hire people themselves with a generic Gmail email address. And realistically, they wouldn't be hiring crew themselves. 

Ask for Money Upfront

Asking for money from you is the biggest red flag. Scammers try to make money off of their targets by asking you to send them a check for equipment or crew with the promise of reimbursing you at a later date. A legitimate employer would never ask you to do that. 

What should you do if a scammer contacts you?

If you think you have been contacted by a scammer or if you're unsure, email help@productionhub.com or call 877-629-4122. We will check our database and let you know if it's safe to proceed.  You can also file a complaint to the FTC to report the job scam. 

Your security is the top priority and ProductionHUB and we strive to give you the tools to stay protected against scammers. 

Have questions you want the ProductionHUB team to answer? Submit your questions to the team at mkt@productionhub.com.

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