BBB Scam Alert: Job hunting? Stay alert to resume formatting scams

To find the job of your dreams, you need a well-crafted resume, right? According to recent Scam Tracker reports, con artists have devised yet another way to trick job seekers out of money and personal information. If you are asked to pay to reformat your resume for a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) during your job search, think twice before you agree. This scam is convincing because many companies use software to automate resume reviews.

The scam begins with contact from a recruiting company that claims they found your information on LinkedIn or a job search website. Based on your job history and experience, they state that you are an excellent candidate for a well-paying position they are looking to fill. To apply, the recruiter asks for your resume and schedule availability for a virtual interview.

The request seems reasonable, so you email them your resume. Shortly afterward, they contact you letting you know they received the resume, but it isn’t formatted correctly for their Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Now, the “recruiter” directs you to a website where you can get the resume reformatted.

You visit the website, where you find out you’ll need to submit personal information and make a payment for the service. If you accept, you’ll receive a “formatted” resume that doesn’t look much different from your original resume – if you receive anything at all. The formatting service is a dishonest scheme to get your money and personal details. The job you’re applying for doesn’t even exist.

How to protect yourself from resume scams

Research the job offer. If you get a job or interview offer, especially one that sounds too good to be true, research it. Visit the company website or call them to see if a job posting or opening exists. If a third-party recruiting service contacts you, research that company or service. Look for any reports of suspicious activity or scams. If you can’t find a legitimate website or contact information, think twice before you message them back.

Never pay to get a job. If someone says paying for resume formatting will guarantee you a job – don’t believe it. Other versions of this scam may claim that the job is guaranteed if you pay for training, credentials, certificates, or other qualifications out of your own pocket.

Guard your personal information. Don’t be quick to share your details. Scammers may insist they need payment information to fix your resume or bank details to set up a direct deposit before you’ve even been interviewed. These are common scam tactics that put you at risk for identity theft.

Format your resume before you send it. If you are worried about ATS formatting, best practices recommend using traditional and simple fonts. Don’t include extra colors, tables and charts. Spell out acronyms and submit your resume as a Word document instead of a PDF. These are easy “fixes” you don’t need to pay for.

Report job scams. If a scammer contacts you through LinkedIn, report them to the platform and to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report may help in getting their profile deactivated or warn others of interacting with the individual.

For more information on how to spot and avoid employment scam tactics, visit