Operation Empty Promises Targets Job Scams

The recession may have waned, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. The unemployment rate is still a staggering 9.5%. That’s millions of people without a job. Many who were displaced eventually got lower paying jobs, and are barely able to get by.

Jobseekers’ desperation for employment makes them vulnerable to work-from-home scams and fake job listings.

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that it has ”stepped up its ongoing campaign against scammers who falsely promise guaranteed jobs and opportunities to ‘be your own boss’ to consumers who are struggling with unemployment and diminished incomes as a consequence of the economic downturn.”

Criminals take advantage of increasing unemployment with fake job listings, designed to trick applicants into disclosing their Social Security numbers. Some scammers who more closely resemble legitimate companies make millions by blanketing classified advertisements across the country, roping people in with false promises.

One company offered to help workers start their own Internet business and earn up to $10,000 a month, ultimately defrauding victims out of $40 million in fees. Another advertised fake sales jobs on CareerBuilder.com and charged applicants for background checks. In another instance, scammers made false claims about the earnings potential of stuffing circulars into envelopes. Another scam advertised an angel pin assembly kit, with which one could supposedly earn up to $500 per week, no experience, special tools, or sewing skills required. The worst scam offered to help consumers recover money lost to other scammers, for a fee of up to $499.

If a job description doesn’t sound like something you would see printed on a business card, or if you are asked to front money, it’s a scam.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses money mules and job scams on Fox News. (Disclosures)

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