The major news organizations are reporting that the number and sophistication of job scams continues to increase. Too many of us are becoming more desperate to find work and the scammers are taking advantage of the situation.
Their tactics usually involve posing as a legitimate company, sometimes as large as Bank of America or US Bank. They often use actual corporate logos on websites and in emails.
The scams have several things in common. One of the major red flags is requiring you to spend money once you are “hired”. You may even have to purchase software and specific paper to do your “job”. Some may include wiring cash through Western Union (which is not even involved in the scam!). Most scams are hidden under a work-from-home or start-your-own-business banner. Many promise huge returns on your investment.
Another warning sign is their requirement that you provide personal information such as your social security number, driver’s license number, bank-account details, date of birth, etc.
- WHN TIP: Don’t provide personal information in response to an emailed job “offer” or through a job-related website. Legitimate offers don’t ask for this data until you have been interviewed, hired and are ready to start work.
If an offer looks too good to be true, it usually is. Check the potential employer out thoroughly. Make sure the website you may have been referred to is the company’s official site (and be careful – because sometimes these aren’t real either!). Google the company’s name along with the word “scam”. Check with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org and the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
- WHN TIP: Never pay money to start a job. The only reasons to spend money on employment might be to start your own business or to purchase a legitimate franchise (that you have thoroughly researched).
News broadcasts are reporting that Americans are falling for scams – and there are even music videos being done in Nigeria (one of the hotbeds of scams) which boast about how much money they are getting from the “dumb Americans”.
Whether the inquiry or offer comes via telephone, email or mail, remember to do your homework. People have lost thousands to these scammers and most of us cannot afford to take a risk. These are cases where the saying “you have to spend money to make money” does not apply.
- Thanks for the update WHN Reader!
- WHN TIP: Being out of work can sometimes cause you to feel isolated. There is a great website available to people who would like to network and have fun at the same time. The site lists groups of all interests. If you like to play cards, exercise, kayak, take photos, rock-climb, etc., you will probably find a group to join at www.meetup.com. Simply enter your zip code and interest on the home page to see a list of groups near you. Registration is free and easy. (See the site’s policy statement for more information.) A cost would only be incurred if you choose a group that charges a fee for membership. The site allows you to indicate the number of miles you are willing to travel from your zip code. Check it out!
If you have an experience you would like to share, email me: Leann (at) WhatHappensNow.com.