Sadly, I hear stories every week over at Work It Daily about job seekers getting scammed by fake employers. Scams are on the rise. Here's why...

FACT: Good economic times actually create more job seekers, not less.

Right now, unemployment is at an all-time low. As a result, the number of job seekers is at an all-time high. Why? All those people who have felt stuck in jobs they don't like think a good economy is the safest time to look for a job. Studies show it actually makes getting a job twice as hard! And, scammers know where there's desperation and pain (i.e. hate your job and want out), there's an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting souls.

No employment brand? Then, it's likely not a real job.

There are actually six common signs a job isn't real. Some are far more subtle and murky in terms of whether or not it definitely means the job is fake. But, one particular sign is accurate about 99 percent of the time. It's the lack of an employment brand a/k/a digital content that showcases what it's like to work there. If you can't find information online that provides validation and proof the job exists, then I guarantee it doesn't. 

Where to look for a company's employment brand.

There are key places a job seeker should go and do their homework before applying to any job online.

1. Glassdoor - This is the single largest resource for third-party information on employers. You can find anonymous employee reviews, and there's even a section on the interview process. 

2. Indeed - They recently started asking for reviews and plan to follow in the footsteps of Glassdoor. They don't have as much information, but it's still worth checking out.

3. LinkedIn - Do both a company search for their profile, and search for employees who have the job title you're applying to. This will help you see the types of people they hire.

4. Company Website - Besides checking out the Careers page, also check out the About page and research the founders and executive team on LinkedIn to see if they are legit.

5. Facebook/Twitter/Instagram - Look at the company's social media profiles to see if they're active and engaged. Especially, if any employees are sharing and promoting their content.

By taking the time to research the company, you'll know quickly whether or not it's a legit employer.

What if the job posting has no company name?

It's true that some staffing agencies like to post jobs for their clients but withhold the name of the employer so competitors don't know who they're working with. If a job posting sounds interesting, but there's no employer name, do the research outlined above on the agency posting the job. Reputable staffing firms will have lots of presence online. Otherwise, skip it, because for various other reasons, it's likely just a scammer trying to get your email address.

P.S. Going around the online job application process is your best option.

Even when a job is legit, the chances of you getting called for an interview is only 3 percent. Yes, that low. Why? Too many people are applying online and the ATS systems that sort through the applications are more likely to toss you for reasons you don't even know. Job seekers who really want to land their dream job know to go around this process using a proactive job search strategy that includes an interview bucket list and targeted networking strategy. Referrals are the fastest way for you to get put in touch with the hiring manager, and increase the chances you'll get an interview.