If you are looking for employment, beware of fraudulent job postings, fake recruiter emails and work-at-home schemes. These ploys often use real company names and can be very convincing. In an extremely competitive job market, the unemployed become easy targets, often making decisions in haste that can cost time and money. While it may look as though they are embarking on a great new career, job seekers may be simply providing money or personal information to dishonest individuals. The Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas advises consumers to do their homework when responding to job ads online.
Last year, job seekers reported more than 1,900 employment scams through the BBB Scam Tracker. The BBB offers tips to avoid falling for a job scam:
- Investigate. Verify that the business is what they say they are and is located where they say they are. Research the company’s Business Profile at bbb.org. If information doesn’t match up, steer clear.
- Be suspicious. Be wary of online-only interviews and when a position is offered after just a few brief questions. If the position offers high pay for little effort and little experience, it’s probably a scam.
- Never pay any upfront fees. Job hunters should never have to pay money to be considered for a job. If a potential employer asks you to pay the company to cover the costs of testing, training or background checks, it should be considered a red flag, as these costs should be covered by the company.
- Never provide personal information. Identity thieves employ many different methods for getting personal and financial information from job hunters. Never give out your credit card or bank account information to unfamiliar companies. Scammers often ask for drivers licenses, passports or other means of identification to verify your identity.
- Get all details and contracts in writing. A legitimate recruiter will provide you with a complete contract for their services with cost, what you get, who pays and what happens if you don’t find a job.
- Use caution with different procedures. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers and beware of offers made without an interview. A legitimate employer will never ask for any of your personal information until after you have met, received a formal written offer with a job description, salary and other remuneration details.
If you find yourself a victim of the scam, act fast. If a scammer can access your computer, they could have collected your personal information, including passwords and banking information. Change your passwords immediately. If you see any strange banking activity, alert your bank.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org . To report fraudulent activities or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline, 903-581-8373, or report it via BBB Scam Tracker.