Those who search for jobs online should be aware that they are not the only ones looking for income. Scammers want some income as well and they are happy to get it deviously from desperate job seekers.
The Better Business Bureau warns that fake employment opportunities are often posted online. Especially popular with fraudsters posting fake job offers are Craigslist and other free online sites.
In some cases crooks have hijacked the names of legitimate companies. Some scammers have sent emails under the guise of a reputable business’ name in which they promote a job opportunity. They send applicants to a fake website where the applicant’s are asked to supply personal information.
Here are tips to help job seekers avoid fake job scams:
• Read the job posting carefully for grammatical errors, misspellings and lots of exclamation points. Legitimate businesses know that such amateurish writing harms their credibility. Watch for generic sounding job titles like admin assistant or customer service rep. Look out for phrases like “Teleworking OK,” “Immediate Start” and “No Experience Needed.” Scammers love to hook their victims with such language.
• Does the job look suspicious? Do a Google search and see if the result comes up in lots of other cities with the same job posting.
While you’re Googling, search for the name of the company behind the job offering. If you find a site with a brick-and-mortar address and a phone number listed, call them and inquire about the job. Look over the site as well to see if the opening is posted there.
• Guard your resume. The personal information on it is a treasure trove for identity thieves.
• Never pay upfront fees. A legitimate job offer will not require out-of-pocket expenses for background checks, credit reports or administrative fees before an interview.
• Don’t give bank account information (for “direct deposit”) or Social Security numbers until you have verified that the job is real and you are really being hired for it.
• Beware of the perfect offer. High pay for short hours and minimal experience does not exist.
The oldest scam in the world is the one where a check is mailed for you to cash and wire back a portion to the sender. That check is bad. It will bounce. Eventually the bank will want that money from you. There are hundreds of variations on this scam. No legitimate employer will ask you to do this.
Real job postings and scam job postings exist online. It’s up to you to determine which is which. Avoid letting a desperate job hunt blind you to the red flags that signal a scam.