With unemployment rates still up across the country and desperate job seekers trying to make ends meet, job scams have seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few months.The most common job scams take the form of fraudulent job postings that appear on legitimate career sites. Job boards will usually make an effort to remove the postings once they’ve been spotted – but it’s often too late for the unsuspecting job seeker.
We all know not to answer emails from Nigerian princes or requests for our social security numbers from Australian lottery officials, but can you tell a sophisticated job scam from the real thing?
Job asks for too much personal information: Right out of college, ripe for the picking…Innumerable scams prey on students and fresh job seekers, taking advantage of their lack of job market knowledge. Using popular sites like Craigslist, Monster, and CareerBuilder, scammers seed their phoney listings in amongst the real things, in order to steal the identity of the applicant, or sell their information to third parties for advertising.
You’d most likely never even know if information had been harvested off your resume, but there are precautionary steps you can take to avoid such a problem. Never include your social security number on your resume and always avoid postings that ask you to send a credit score from any site other than the big three bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) A good rule of thumb is to get out of any application or email that redirects you to a suspicious site or form that you don’t feel comfortable filling out with your personal information. Information such as credit reports, background checks, etc… are post-interview information! They don’t belong in the initial stages of a job application.
Job seems too good to be true: At first glance, the best scams are often indiscernible from real jobs. They may even seem like great opportunities! Multi-level marketing (MLM) scams are one such example, offering entry-level marketing and sales positions that promise high gains and room for advancement.
While these positions are actual “jobs” per say, they usually amount to telemarketing or door-to-door sales jobs that have you work grueling hours off pure commission. Promises of huge payouts if you refer a number of friends, or get your family to buy in keep the pyramid scheme going. To avoid these jobs, look for overly excited postings that promise you the world. They’ll put you through the motions of a mock interview and call you back immediately saying you got the job…but they’ll usually have to get you through the door to sign a contract. One red flag to watch out for is group interviews. These group interviews aren’t about assessing your skills, but rather attracting participants as fast as possible to fuel their marketing.
Job asks you to buy something: These postings preys on the “work-at-home” type or anyone who falls for a get rich quick scheme. The job posting ask you to buy a starter kit and in no time you’ll be on your way to making big bucks. Little does the applicant realize that they’ve just fallen for a sale, not an open job. Any organization that requires you to buy a product or service before employment should be regarded with extreme suspicion and avoided at all costs.
With a little Internet detective work, job seekers can find all the information they need to make an educated decision about a company and any related job postings they find. Through Google, a company’s reputation is widely available to the public and often job seeker testimonials are available to aid other applicants. Always exercise caution when dealing with highly sensitive information over the Internet. If you see a suspicious job posting, don’t hesitate to report it and always go with your gut instinct when making a decision.
Job scams prey on people during some of their weakest personal moments. Be careful out there and good luck!