Just because a job recruiter says he’s from (fill in blank—any huge corporation) doesn’t mean the job can’t be a scam. Anyone could say they’re from Microsoft or Google. Impersonating a representative from a big-name company is one way to fool gullible job seekers.
An article on consumer.ftc.gov lists the following signs of a fraudulent job advertisement:
- There are plenty of totally legitimate jobs that involve money out of your pocket. And in some cases, this may be described as an application fee, reference check fee, background check, cost of training materials or anything else. Only pay when the site itself has been vetted by you and everyone else. Do your research!
- The ad talks of “previously undisclosed” federal government positions. The scammer is banking that you have no idea that usajobs.gov lists all federal job openings to the public.
- They want your bank account or credit card information. Be very aware.
Similarly, scammers may prey on people seeking a job placement service. The consumer.ftc.gov names the following red flags:
- Fictitious jobs are promoted.
- Payment is made but no job materializes—and the service suddenly falls off the radar.
- If the ad mentions a company, contact that company to verify they’re contracted with the job placement service before you make your next move.
- Never make major decisions without first getting everything in writing: cost, what it gets you, etc.
- Ask them what happens if they can’t place you in a compatible position. Then listen good. If the response doesn’t make sense or is vague, move on. If they assure you you’ll get a refund within a certain period of time, make sure this is in writing.
- But if you decide to go with them, read your contract word for word. If they show impatience with this, it’s a red flag.
- Beware of ads that sound like job openings, but actually are just worded to sound that way. These semi-scammers want you to pay them to give you information you can easily find online. A classic example is an ad for writing jobs. It’s worded to sound like the ad placer can connect you with clients—whom they are working for—who need a writer. Instead you’ll be paying for a list of freelance markets, such as some boating magazine seeking submissions—when you specialize in a completely unrelated niche.
- Make sure you know precisely what you’re getting into. Are you seeking help with job placement or looking for someone to construct your resume?
- See what the BBB says about the company and what a Google search pulls up.
- Just because you have to pay doesn’t mean it’s a scam. However…ask yourself why you need to pay someone thousands of dollars to find you a job, what with all the online (and legitimate) job postings and the ability to blast out hundreds of e-mail queries in just a few days with your resume attached?
By keeping your scam radar on high during a job search, job seekers can prevent their personal information and financial data pout of the hands of criminals.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.