Up to 15 ‘help wanted’ adverts were listed for businesses in the town on indeed.co.uk.
The jobs had been uploaded through Indeed’s app Job Spotter, which allows members of the public to take photos of adverts in show windows and upload them to Indeed in exchange for a redeemable reward.
But business owners have said the laminated signs photographed in the adverts are fake and confirmed they are not hiring.
Sarah Brierly’s sandwich bar Auntie Sarah’s in Shoreham High Street was one of the businesses affected.
She said: “What people are doing is putting their own signs up.
“The advert for my shop, you can see they’ve taken the photo at night – it’s dark.
“They’ve literally stuck a sign on the outside of the window, taken a photo, and sent it in. How can they do that?”
Sarah, who has run the the sandwich bar alone since it opened in August, said the experience had been ‘frustrating’ and that she had wasted time turning down job seekers who had got in touch.
She said: “I think it’s really wrong.
“I have had three phone calls this morning from people looking for work. One person got quite agitated and asked why are you advertising then?
“I work on my own, all the time I’m on the phone doing that is time I’m not spending on my customers. It’s very frustrating.”
She learned of the fake advert online when a friend alerted her on Tuesday evening and immediately contacted Indeed.co.uk.
“I sent them an email saying why are you advertising a job that doesn’t exist?” she said.
On Wednesday evening she said she had not yet received a reply.
Trina Wright, a baby photographer who runs Honey Pie Photography in Shoreham High Street, also had her business listed on the website.
She said it had happened to her before about six months ago and she had received ‘lots of phonecalls’ from jobseekers in response.
“The first time it happened it was really quite creepy,” she said.
On Wednesday morning at 8am she received a text about a job and realised it had happened again.
“Someone had stuck the sign on, taken a picture and then posted it,” she said. “It does look quite convincing.”
She said of the situation: “It’s just annoying. It’s the time it takes to reply.”
She said she was also sympathetic to the job seekers responding to the fake adverts.
“It’s just a shame, when people are applying for a job it takes a lot of effort,” she said.
She alerted Indeed.co.uk after ‘a bit of a goose chase’ to find the right person to contact and the post was removed.
A spokesman for Indeed apologised for any inconvenience caused.
The spokesman said: “Job Spotter was launched last year in an effort to get all offline jobs online and we needed a community of people to help us with that goal.
“We now have job spotters all over the country submitting jobs to us and we reward them with gift cards for helping us with our mission.
“We take complaints very seriously and apologise for any inconvenience experienced and said any users posting ‘with clear malicious intent’ would be banned from the app.
“We have strict policies in place and are investigating the circumstances around this posting.
“All job postings that are uploaded to the Job Spotter app are vetted by a dedicated team at Indeed using image processing, machine learning, and other processes to determine what the job is, where it is located, who the employer is, and other identifiers, which are then reviewed to see if the job posting meets Indeed’s search quality standards prior to it being added to the Indeed job search engine.
“Users deliberately posting with clear malicious intent will be banned from the app.”