In the current U.S. employment environment, many job seekers are feeling desperate – a desperation that provides a golden opportunity for crooks. In the past, fraudsters who specialized in job scams ran ads in newspapers or posted fake employment listings at local grocery stores. Although rip-off artists continue to use such venues, sophisticated criminals now employ a far more efficient tool to nab unsuspecting victims: the Internet.
For example, a bogus advertisement – touting jobs that require no experience and no education – may be posted on a legitimate website using a professional-looking logo and slick testimonials. Or job seekers may be required to pay an enrollment or membership fee to get information that’s freely available elsewhere. They may be offered a “job” forwarding money from one bank account to another, often in Europe or China. If the money comes from stolen credit cards, anyone who transfers the funds – even unknowingly – may face criminal charges and end up in jail! One company duped job seekers by offering to provide study materials for a civil service examination that didn’t exist. Others were offered jobs as movie actors or newspaper reporters, without regard to experience, training, or appearance.
Fraudsters perpetrate employment scams for several reasons. They may want to collect personal information to steal your identity. They may seek direct access to your bank or credit card accounts to buy stuff with your money. They may even try to use you as a pawn in an illegal activity, such as receiving and reshipping stolen property.
How can you avoid these types of scams?
* Don’t pay fees for referrals to government jobs.
* Don’t pay upfront fees to receive information.
* Never accept a “job” that consists of simply transferring money to someone else’s account (known as a “payment forwarding” scam).
* Don’t provide personal information, such as personal bank account numbers or social security numbers, until you’re confident that your employer is legitimate.
If you think you’ve been scammed, take these steps:
* Close all bank accounts and e-mail addresses associated with the fraud.
* Check your credit reports for unusual activity.
* Report the company name and job listing to the website where the scam was posted.
* If you think you’ve been a victim of a “payment forwarding” scam, file a police report.
For more information, please contact our office.
Tags: job scams
Written by: Doug Rodrigues