Searching for Jobs Online
August 01, 2008

In Acadiana it couldn’t be a better time to look for a job! It seems more and more are turning to the Internet as a key tool, noting that in 2007, 73 percent of job seekers reported using the online sources compared to 66 percent in 2005. While 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.

Unfortunately, the search for a dream job can lead to becoming a victim of identity theft or other types of fraud.

Following are seven red flags BBB advises jobs hunters to be on the look out for when using online resources:

Red Flag: Employer e-mails are rife with grammatical and spelling errors

Most online fraud is perpetrated by scammers located outside the U.S. Their first language usually isn’t English and this is often evident in their poor grasp of the language.

Red Flag: E-mails purporting to be from job posting Web sites claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account

Phishing e-mails like this are designed to convince readers to click a link within the message to fix the issue, but actually take them to a Web site that will install malware or viruses on their computer.

Red Flag: An employer asks for extensive personal information such as social security or bank account numbers

Regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, a job applicant should never give out his or her Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone or e-mail.

Red Flag: An employer offers the opportunity to become rich without leaving home

While there are legitimate businesses that allow employees to work from home, there are also a lot of scammers trying to take advantage of senior citizens, stay-at-home moms, students and injured or handicapped people looking to make money at home

Red Flag: An employer asks for money upfront

Aside from paying for a uniform, it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees or make a required purchase to get a job.

Red Flag: The salary and benefits offered seem too-good-to-be-true

Phony employers might brag about exceptionally high salary potential and excellent benefits for little experience in order to lure unsuspecting job hunters into their scam.

Red Flag: The job requires the employee to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram

Many phony jobs require the prospective employee to cash a check sent by the company through the mail and then wire a portion of the money on to another entity. Whatever the reason though, the check might clear the employee’s bank account but will eventually turn out to be a fake and the employee is out the money he or she wired back to the scammers.

Receive information on local companies by calling the BBB’s Smart Call 981-3497 24 hours a day; up to date information on local and business scams, identity theft, general consumer tips and alerts or contact our website at www.acadiana.bbb.org for information on local or national companies and not for profit companies.