We all know it is difficult to find a good job, especially in the current state of the economy. Unfortunately, scammers are aware of this reality as well and have found ways to take full advantage of those desperately seeking employment. To trick those who are looking for good and honest work, scammers advertise on popular websites, TV channels and newspapers alongside real employers and job placement firms. It may seem hard to identify which job opportunities are legitimate and which are out to get you, but luckily there are some common signs of a job scam.
1. They are asking to you pay: This should be an immediate red flag. They may claim that you are paying for certification, training materials, or other expenses but keep in mind that you are paying for a promise from a complete stranger. No matter what they tell you, don’t pay for something that has yet to materialize.
2. You need to supply credit card or bank account information: As with any circumstance, never give out secure financial information over the phone or web unless you are completely familiar with the company and have agreed to pay for a good or service. This so-called “employer” might claim that they need your information to set up direct deposit or check your credit, however this is a flat out lie in order to steal your money. Do not provide financial information until you are completely secured in the job and are sure the company is legitimate.
3. A fee to apply to federal or postal jobs: Scammers have been successful in tricking people into thinking that federal agencies charge application or job disclosure fees. Others will advertise offers of helping job seekers find and apply for federal and postal jobs- for a fee of course. Remember that U.S. government or Postal Service job openings are free to apply and available to everyone.
Other common job scams involve fake job placement services. These scams will lie about what they can do to get you a job, promote outdated or fake job openings, and charge up-front fees for their services which may not even lead to a job.
Follow these steps before choosing to enlist a company’s job placement help:
-Check with companies mentioned in the ad or interview to find out if the company actually hires through that specific placement service.
-Get everything in writing including a copy of the contract, promises of refunds, specific services they provide, and what costs you are responsible for. If the answers you receive seem misleading or confusing, it is wise to look elsewhere.
-Know the difference between job placement and job counseling. Job counseling offers a lot of great services from resume and interview preparation to information about companies in your desired field. However, it is important to know that job counseling services do not guarantee job placement. Before you pay fees as high as hundreds or thousands of dollars, be sure you know what you are paying for.
-Take sure time to look for complaints about the company on BBB’s website: www.bbb.org. Also keep in mind that a lack of complaints does not mean the company is completely trustworthy. Leave no stone unturned before you sign that contract and hand over your money.
If you think you have been targeted by a job scam, don’t forget to file a complaint with the FTC.