Tips for avoiding job scams
Are you looking for a telecommute job?
If you are, then this article is for you. Because while more and more companies are looking for remote workers, there are also a growing number of employment scams that can cost you money, your credit, your reputation, and even your identity!
Job scams rank no. 3 on the Better Business Bureau’s list of top 5 most risky scams. People between the ages of 25 and 34 are particularly vulnerable, and on average, victims lose $274 to employment scams.
There are various types of employment scams including re-shipping scams, mystery shopping scams, and car wrapping scams, and it’s not always easy to determine they aren’t legitimate. For example, some scammers post a job ad, and then respond immediately to your application with a job offer. If you accept, they’ll ask you to pay for training, certification, materials, or even recruitment costs—and once you pay, you’ll never hear from them again.
There are also money laundering job scams that involve either bad or stolen checks. Usually, a new “employer” sends you a check; then instructs you to deposit it in your bank account and wire the bulk of the sum to one or more other accounts to cover the costs of training or materials. However, as soon as you deposit the check, you’re involved in fraudulent activity. The bank will flag the check, close your account, and report you to the authorities and credit bureaus. If the check is stolen, you’re liable for the funds, and if it’s bad, then you’ve just lost your own money. By the time you realize what’s happened, the “employer” is nowhere to be found and you’re left to deal with the fallout.
So how can you avoid job scams?
- Don’t respond to unsolicited job offers from people you don’t know.
- Always research a company before applying for a job. Check its website, do an Internet search, and search for reviews on Glassdoor. If there’s no information out there or if the information doesn’t line up with the job posting, steer clear.
- If you receive an email in response to your job application, check that the email address and signature are legitimate. A Gmail or yahoo email address is a red flag, but even if the email address looks correct, double-check the domain. Sometimes scammers use domains that are very similar to authentic ones.
- If you’re invited to interview using Google Hangouts or another IM service, you’re probably dealing with scammers. Real hiring managers are more likely to use GoToMeeting or Skype.
- Never, under any circumstances, pay somebody who’s posing as an employer. If you’re asked to pay for anything at all—training, placement, materials, even a phone call—it’s a sure sign of a scam.
- Don’t share any sensitive information like your bank account, credit card, and social security numbers.
- Don’t accept any money unless you’ve verified that the company is a reputable business, you have a signed employment contract, and you’ve performed the work you’re being paid for.
If a job scammer has targeted you, it’s important to report it to the authorities by contacting the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, or your local law enforcement agency. Last, but certainly not least, keep in mind that the best way to avoid job scams is to work with a reputable staffing and recruitment agency that specializes in telecommute job placement.