Scam Alert: How to Spot Fake Jobs for Healthcare Professionals

healthcare clinician wearing blue scrubs holding smartphone and checking messages

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare staffing companies like CareerStaff have seen dramatic shifts in the amount of available healthcare jobs. And as the need grows for nurses, allied therapists and other essential healthcare workers, an unfortunate side effect has also appeared: an increase in ads for fake jobs for healthcare professionals and other scams.

7 Tips For Spotting A Fake Job Posting

The explosion of fake jobs for healthcare professionals has reached all corners of the Internet, particularly on social media sites that may not be legally required — or feel any obligation to — remove fraudulent listings. Email is also a common source of fake jobs and scams. To help you identify them, it’s important to learn to spot the telltale signs of fake jobs. Here are a few notable red flags:

1. No experience required. A general rule when it comes to spotting a fake job posting is asking yourself: Is it too good to be true?

In particular, you should look twice at any clinical job that doesn’t require experience. Even though we’re temporary emergency licensing laws have led to the hiring of retired or inexperienced workers to help treat Covid-19, this practice still isn’t the norm, and should serve as a huge red flag.

2. Is it a work-from-home job? Many fake jobs for healthcare professionals offer the chance to work from home, which may not be realistic given the nature of the work. While it’s true that telehealth has enabled more work-from-home opportunities, it’s still rare for a clinical job to be on a complete work-from-home basis. Look twice at any unsolicited job offers that come with this promise.

3. Is it in a state where you’re licensed to work? Since March, measures have been in place for emergency state licensure for nurses, respiratory therapists and other clinicians to help treat patients in other states. The Nursing Licensure Compact has the same goal, letting nurses practice in number of states with a single license.

Yet even with that consideration, location is a big red flag for fake jobs for healthcare professionals. If you’re being offered a position that seems too good to be true — say, a high-paying position in Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard — then it very well may be. Double-checking the location can give you a sense of whether you’re dealing with a legitimate recruiter, or a scammer.

4. Is the company or recruiter legitimate? From large health networks to local recruiters, there are a lot of sources of jobs for healthcare professionals out there. And every one of them should come from a source that’s verified.

How can you tell? If you’ve never heard of the person or company sending you a job offer, a quick Google search should indicate whether they’re legit. If they’re a recruitment professional, they should have — at minimum — a LinkedIn profile. Lastly, a company or job board, should have a legitimate website. If it doesn’t, it’s most likely fake. 

5. Get better at spotting scams and fakes. Nurses in particular have been the target of a number of disturbing scams besides fake jobs in recent months. In Idaho, for instance, a nurse reported receiving a phone call from a fake member of the state’s nursing board. Telling her that her license had been suspended, he then tried to extort $17,500 from her.

How can you protect yourself from this type of scam? “The first step to protecting yourself is awareness,” writes Roy Muyinza for the Texas Nurses Association. “Question new faces in the workplace, or calls from people you don’t know. If they say they work for another company, ask to call them back and call the main line for the company to verify the person is who they say they are.”

6. Be extra-careful with emails, and don’t click any links until you’re absolutely sure the sender is safe. To figure that out, look at who sent the email. For instance, any official email from CareerStaff representative will always have the email address ending with, and never from generic extensions like @gmail, @yahoo or @hotmail.

Email is the most common way to receive a fraudulent job offer or other type of scam. Muyinza offers some advice for spotting a fake email. “The ESSENTIAL subject line sounds urgent,” he warns. “With time pressure, a person is more likely to reply immediately.”

7. Never divulge your personal or financial info or provide payment to someone you don’t know. Most fake jobs for healthcare professionals are ultimately trying to get access to your personal info like social security number of bank account number. Remember, legitimate recruitment sources like CareerStaff will never ask for such info on the phone or via email. 

Questions or Concerns? We’re Here To Help

2020 has been a difficult year, particularly for healthcare workers. From general job uncertainty to burnout and compassion fatigue, the challenges facing healthcare workers have rarely been more urgent. Therefore, we urge you to take it upon yourself to double-check any job prospects you may hear about to make sure it is valid.

> At CareerStaff, we’re here to help, from healthcare career resources such as our Clinician Connections newsletter to a variety of vetted healthcare jobs available nationwide!

Last Updated on September 11, 2023