BBB warns against internet job scams

As the economy recovers around Acadiana and the U.S., more and more jobs are becoming available on sites such as Craigslist in a variety of different employment fields.

But the increase in employment opportunities and resulting jobs listings also opens the door to scammers high jacking the names of real companies to put out job applications geared at identity theft, not employment.

Even 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 has recently received reports from job seekers that scammers have used the names of real companies advertising jobs on craigslist.com to place false job applications asking for Social Security numbers.

After checking with the local oil and gas exploration company whose name was used, the human resources director confirmed that the company does not ask for Social Security numbers on their applications.

The company was confirmed to be registered in the state of Louisiana through the Louisiana Secretary of State.

BBB and the United States Social Security Administration recommend that job seekers never give out Social Security numbers until they are officially employed by a company. To do otherwise would create a real risk of identity theft, damage to credit scores and financial loss.

BBB offers the following tips to avoid being taken by this or similar employment scams:

  • Exercise Caution. When using social networking sites like Facebook and online employment sites such as Craigslist, be sure to check the actual Web site of the company posting the position to verify it actually exists. If you don’t see it on their site, chances are it’s a scam.
  • Guard Your Resume. Some job seekers have uploaded their resume online but remember to make sure you only upload it for a legitimate purpose and company. Resumes often contain personal information, ripe for identity theft thieves.
  • Do not give too much information until you are hired. Jobseekers should become suspicious if asked for certain personal information on a job application. Never give out Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone, internet or e-mail.
  • Start with Trust. Many scams use names that are similar to reputable companies to trick job seekers. BBB recommends that job seekers check out the company first at bbb.org and to apply through the actual company site whenever possible.

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About Sharane Gott

Sharane A. Gott is the President/CEO of the BBB of Acadiana in Lafayette, LA. She is a certified mediator and has served on the Council of the CBBB Board of Directors, Bureau Operation Committee, as well as many other national committees over her 27 years with the BBB.