Washington, DC – Looking for a job? You’re not alone. With unemployment at a soaring rate of 9.2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many job hunters are turning to online job boards to post their resume and search for jobs. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning job seekers to proceed with caution before sharing their personal qualifications and inquiring about jobs found online.
As much 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. It’s becoming more and more common for scammers to lure in potential candidates with phrases like, “Get rich quick – without even leaving your home!” all in the hopes of getting their personal information. Craigslist, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com and now even Facebook are all breeding grounds for scammers and the like.
“Job seekers need to be on the look out for potential scams. Before posting your resume to a career site or inquiring about a job, make sure you know with whom you are dealing,” said Edward Johnson, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. “Many job scammers are having candidates set up direct deposit accounts as part of the application process and making it seem as though it’s naturally part of the process to get an interview—when it’s absolutely not.”
The BBB advises job hunters to be on the look out for these red flags when conducting their job search:
Employer emails 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 which can include poor grammar and the misspelling of common words.
Emails purporting to be from job posting websites claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account. After creating a user account on sites like Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com or Craigslist.com, a job hunter might receive an e-mail saying there has been a problem with their account or they need to follow a hyperlink to install new software. 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 website that will install malware or viruses on their computer.
An employer asks for extensive personal information such as social security or bank account numbers. Some job seekers have been surprised to learn they’ve gotten a job without having to do a single interview. However, when the employer then asked for personal information in order to fill out the necessary paperwork suspicions were raised – and rightly so. 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.
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. Job hunters should use extreme caution when considering a work-at-home offer and always research the company with the BBB.
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. Most recently, the BBB uncovered a scam where job hunters were told they had to pay $64.50 for a background check before they could be considered for the job. Predictably, after paying for the background check, the job seeker never heard from the company again.
The salary and benefits offered seem too-good-to-be-true. The adage holds true for job offers: if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 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.
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. Reasons given for this requirement vary from scam to scam. 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.
# # #