BBB Warns About Employment Scams Using Well-Known Brand Names

June 15, 2017

If you are looking for employment, be aware of scam job postings, fake recruiter emails, and work-at-home schemes. Cons often use real company names and can be very convincing. It may look as though you are starting a great new career, but you’re really giving personal information or money to scammers.

Don't let stress when looking for a new job make you vulnerable to scams. Be wary of on-the-spot offers or payment requirements for opportunities or training.

How Scams Work:
You spot a “Help Wanted” ad online or receive an email from a “recruiter” asking you to apply for a position. The ad likely uses the name of a real business or government agency. Companies small and large – even BBB – have been impersonated. You apply and get a quick response from the “hiring manager” often with an offer, without having an interview.

After you are “hired,” the company may charge upfront for “training.” You could be asked to provide personal and banking information to run a credit check or set up direct deposit. You also may be “accidentally” overpaid with a fake check and asked to deposit the check and wire back the difference. You might be asked to buy expensive equipment and supplies to work from home.

How to Spot an Employment Scam:

Be on the lookout for positions likely to be scams. Be leery of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service representative. Positions that don't require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in fake ads. If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company's job site to see if the position is posted.

Be suspicious of different procedures. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but avoid offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring. Don't fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers. Be cautious sharing personal information and watch out for any company that promises great opportunities or big earnings as long as you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories.

Know government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely. The U.S. and Canadian federal governments and the U.S. Postal Service/Canada Postal Service never charge for job information or applications. Be leery of any offer that gives you special access or guarantees a job for a fee – if you are paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam.

Get all details and contracts in writing. A legitimate company will provide a contract for services, cost included, details of what you get, who pays (you or the employer), and what happens if you do not find a job.


About BBB of Central, Northern & Western Arizona 
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and 11,000 charities, all available free at Incorporated locally in 1938, BBB serving Central, Northern and Western Arizona serves 10 counties through its campuses in Phoenix, Lake Havasu City, Prescott and Yuma, supported by over 11,500 BBB Accredited Businesses. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to high standards of ethical business practices. BBB provides objective advice, free business reviews and charity reports, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.