An investigation of magnetic properties using magnetic susceptibility (χ) and frequency-dependent susceptibility (χfd) was conducted on representative modern pollutants, which include smelted slag dust, automobile exhaust dust and coal ash. Their magnetic susceptibility values are more than 500ξ108 m3/kg, and frequency-dependent susceptibility values less than 3%, indicating that ample ferrimagnetic and scanty superparamagnetic grains occurred in the studied pollutants. Similar to the artificially synthetic polluted soils, the industrially-polluted soils display a negative relationship between magnetic susceptibility and frequency-dependent susceptibility. However, the unpolluted soils, e.g. the Quaternary loess in the Chinese Loess Plateau, show a positive relationship between them. In this note, we propose a convenient and effective approach for identifying the polluted soils.