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I immigrated into the US recently, I'm a software developer with a decent resume, but I'm really struggly to get a job here. With that premise, I'm receiving a lot of calls from people from mostly New Jersey with a strong indian accent, so strong that some time I can't even understand. They offer you 6 months/1 year contract jobs, and I never understand when is a scam and when not, when they ask me for my last 4 digit of the social security.. ok I close the call. But now I received so many calls like that, that I can't trust if a recruiter is indian. I can't even undestand anymore if is a legit call or not, cause the way they do is always the same, they call you, they say what they are looking for and they try to send you an email with the job description.

I need a job, but I don't want to be scammed, how can I protect myself? When is too late to undestand if is scam or not?

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  • Do your homework, identify companies that are likely to need people with your background, and apply directly through their websites.
    – PM 77-1
    Mar 1, 2023 at 18:42
  • Refusing cold calls, or insisting that you call them back at a more convenient time, will go a long way toward eliminating the scammers
    – keshlam
    Mar 3, 2023 at 21:39

4 Answers 4

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What is and isn't a Scam usually depends on whether or not it passes the Sniff test.

If it smells like a Scam, it probably is a Scam.

Anything that asks you to pay any money upfront.
Anything where the company details are obscured or opaque.
Anything where you have to pay for training.
Anything that asks up-front for personal information that is not directly related to your ability to work - so asking for you to confirm you have a green card (I think) or a work Visa is fine.
Anything where what is advertised does not match what is discussed.

One tactic you can use to try and filter these out, is when you are called, ask to call them back in 5 minutes - then call the head office directly and ask to get put through to whoever you were talking to.

If it's legit, then they will put you through, if it's a Scam...

But as above - trust your gut, if it smells fishy, walk away.

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In addition to the other answers and precaution tips there.

Why don't YOU contact some legitimate independent recruiters (or recruiting companies) actively, they will be happy to provide you with job opportunities and you can make sure, before contacting them, that they are legit.

Not sure if the US is different than Europe, but in Europe this is a common practice, I already got jobs via recruiters I contacted, they sent me job openings that could fit. Helped me to prepare the application and didn't cost me any money (they get paid by the company when I join).

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    This. Cold calls, unless they can tell you exactly why they are contacting you in particular, are an attempt by them to make money rather than an attempt to find you a good job.
    – keshlam
    Feb 28, 2023 at 17:07
  • Yes, I come from Europe, here is completely different, and the economic situations doesn't help, is really different looking for jobs here, the competition is hard
    – Matteo
    Mar 1, 2023 at 17:44
  • @Matteo - Also be prepared that you non-US experience will be heavily discounted. You cannot get US experience without a job and at the same time it's difficult to get hired without it.
    – PM 77-1
    Mar 1, 2023 at 18:45
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Recruiters exist, and lots of IT positions are contract-based. That means hiring for a specific Purchase Order for a specific customer. This applies to the monster IT outsourcing organizations (IBM, Cognizant, Cap Gemini, TCS, etc.) and also to small 5-20 person shops. Lots of these companies are based in India but need local reps. There is nothing inherently "scammy" about India-based IT firms, there are probably hundreds of thousands of their employees in the US.

They are likely asking for your last 4 to ensure you have a number, which is required for the I-9 permission-to-work process.

To not get scammed:

  • never pay money for anything
  • understand everything you sign
  • make sure you are going to be paid, do not go to training for no pay. Banks need COBOL programmers, the training-to-job thing is used extensively by them & their supporting contractors.
  • look for real companies with real web sites and real domain names
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  • 4
    Research how long the recruiting company's domain has existed, where else it is referenced from... Basically, if a cold call feels suspicious, there is usually no good reason to continue the conversation. Heck, if your number is on the US do-not-call list, a cold call may be illegal.
    – keshlam
    Feb 27, 2023 at 23:03
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I am reading the other responses that are here, and so far they have missed the mark.

The recruiters you are speaking to are not out to scam you when they mention four digits of your Social Security number. They're asking for these four numbers because when they submit your information, they need something that uniquely identifies you to prevent dual submissions to an end client. If an end client receives your information twice for the same position, it will reject both applications because there are legal implications that arise should two recruiting companies argue over who submitted your information first.

That said, make up a four digit number that is different from your SSN. Always give the recruiters this same number. They don't care. It just needs to be unique. Should the situation progress through interviews to a real job, put your real SSN on I-9 and W-4 forms. So we have solved this problem.

A second thing to realize is that many of the recruiters are paid what would be a very low wage in the US, and are working from offshore. Because of VoIP technology, you would not know immediately that they are offshore but I have noticed over the years a trend for the companies to use phone numbers linked to New Jersey. If you are interested in a job, ignore the New Jersey thing. When you speak to recruiters, ask if they are filling jobs for their direct clients. This is important. Contract jobs are okay, but you really don't want to work for a contract firm who has been hired by another contract firm who has been hired by yet another contract firm that has been, finally, hired by the company paying the bills. Avoid these sorts of situations like the plague, because the wages you make have been 'stepped on' several times before they get to you, and you will almost always be offered a rate lower than Market for your services.

If you have a problem with someone's accent, and can't understand them, request that a written job description be sent to your email. The people who make the initial phone calls really don't need to speak The King's English, and if you decide to pursue things further you will be in touch with an account manager whose English will definitely be better. This is annoying, but this is how the hierarchy works.

Best of luck.

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