Scammers continue to take advantage of the COVID‑19 pandemic to perpetuate frauds and scams making Canadians experiencing job loss vulnerable to fraudulent job offers. Here’s how to spot the common red flags of an employment scam.

Red flags of an employment scam

There are variations of a scam job offer, but there are typically common red flags, including:

  • The job offer is unsolicited, arriving as a text or email with promises of easy money.
  • The "employer" sends you a cheque, often with a bogus “contract” and asks you to cash the cheque and send a portion of the money to another person or company – a version of the overpayment scam.
  • You apply to an online job ad for a position as a "payments processor" or "financial agent" and your job requires you to deposit payments from the company's clients into your bank account and then redirect those funds to a different account according to the "employer's" instructions. These funds could be the proceeds of crime and the scammer has hired you to launder the funds as a money mule.

How to protect yourself from job scams

  • Always verify that a legitimate company is offering the job.
  • Validate the job posting is legitimate by ensuring that the job offer is posted to the company’s official website and not only online job boards or by calling the company using a phone number you know is correct and not just provided in the job offer.
  • Never accept funds on behalf of someone you don’t know.


The Canadian Anti‑Fraud Centre has compiled a list of the reported scams exploiting COVID‑19.

The government of Canada has information for Canadians about COVID‑19, including a toll‑free phone number and email address here:

The COVID Alert application is the Government of Canada’s app for mobile devices to help notify Canadians of potential COVID‑19 exposure.

Find additional articles about fraud prevention on the CBA website, sign up to receive the CBA’s free email fraud prevention newsletter and follow @Cdnbankers on Twitter for more fraud prevention tips.

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