business man performing shell game scam with cupsAs the age of the Internet dawned and as the unemployment rate remains high, job scam artists have beefed up their repertoire of tools to draw in the desperate unemployed who would reduce their career aspirations to stuffing envelopes, mystery shopping, and assembling jewelry just to pay the bills. But most of these types of job offers aren’t lucrative work-from-home opportunities but are outright fraudulent and function only to earn money for the scam operators. So how do you spot genuine job offers amidst the unscrupulous scammers?

As it has been since the days of back-page scam offers when newspapers were the go-to medium for ambitious job seekers, most illegitimate job offers promise preposterous sums of money for a small up-front fee. But once you send off your money and eagerly await your path to financial freedom, you may never hear from anyone or you might receive a package of vague and useless instruction that isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. It’s been said a million times over, but if it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

The primary identifiers of false job opportunities, as reported by the Federal Trade Commission, include the requirement of an up-front investment for special training, start-up materials, access to websites, or sales information such as leads. Job seekers should also avoid paying for access to job search websites as they retain no exclusivity to job postings. And most legit employers utilize all available resources for their postings in order to reach as many applicants as possible and won’t limit themselves to only a small number of shady job boards. However, there are a number of legitimate work-at-home opportunities that can be found through smart job searching. Always check with the Better Business Bureau for information on each company you consider and use established and reputable job boards to ensure you are accessing high-quality postings.

Most fraudulent job offers advertise an outstanding earnings potential while requiring little to no work on the part of the “employee.” Many offers from scam companies also tend to lack good grammar and contain many spelling mistakes. Not only do scam jobs offer you tons of money for no effort, they also generally require no experience or education. Finally, it should go without saying that legitimate companies would never ask for excessive personal information or banking information just to apply for an open position.

Though job scams can seem tempting in such a down job market, it is important to identify the tell-tale features of an illicit offer. Being a smart job seeker all comes down to common sense: virtually no one gets paid to do nothing; you should never pay to simply apply for an open job position; and no reliable company will require you to divulge personal financial for hiring purposes.


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