Watch Out for Phony Online Job Offers
As the internet has made searching for jobs easier, it also provides an opportunity for ID thieves and scammers to take advantage of eager and unsuspecting job seekers. BBB advises consumers to do their homework when responding to job ads online.
“More families are becoming increasingly susceptible to suspect offers for employment as they try to find work in an extremely competitive job market”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO Serving Central East Texas. “Searching for work, the unemployed become easy targets for scam artists, often making decisions in haste which can cost them not only time, but money as well.”
Job offers which require an upfront fee
Earlier this year, job ads cropped up in Florida from a company claiming it was looking to hire 2,500 employees for their new headquarters. Applicants had to submit $24 to pay for a background check. Law enforcement later found out that the money only went to the pockets of the company’s owner. Sadly, similar schemes crop up across the country every year. While the amount of money lost by any one victim maybe be small, the total amount taken in by the schemer can be significant.
BBB Advice: Job hunters should never have to pay money up front to be considered for a job. If a potential employer asks for the job hunter to pay the company to cover the costs of testing, training or background checks, it should be considered a red flag.
Job placement assistance that makes big promises but can’t deliver
Job placement companies do not charge the job seekers for help finding a job, but are instead paid by companies that need help filling positions. Some job placement companies, however, have been taking money from job hunters and not fulfilling their promises of quick employment.
BBB Advice: Always research a job placement company first with BBB before signing any contracts or paying any money.
Phishing attempts by ID thieves pretending to be real businesses
Identity thieves employ many different methods for getting personal financial information from job hunters. Spam e-mail might offer a great opportunity and direct the job hunter to a Web site that is designed to install malware on his or her computer or solicit bank account or Social Security numbers. In other cases, the job hunter might even be asked to submit a resume, find out they’ve been hired and then immediately be asked for bank account or Social Security numbers.
BBB Advice: Be extremely cautious when responding to unsolicited e-mails from supposed employers—even if the company name is well-known—and do not click on any links in the e-mail until having vetted the company fully and can confirm that the e-mail came from a legitimate source. Legitimate employers will need Social Security numbers for tax purposes and may need a bank account number to deposit paychecks after one is hired, not before.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.