Job Search Scams

by Kristy Amburgey

“You are guaranteed a job with no effort on your part!”

“Make money while sitting at home!”

 “You will be making over $100,000 per week in a matter of no time.  All you have to do is invest in some upfront training.”

Sounds intriguing, right?  It might be tempting to click on the link or give them Danger Job Scama call if you are looking for a job, especially one that makes you tons of money.  But you should hold that thought for just a minute.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who will take advantage of your desire to find lucrative employment opportunities.  It is important to be aware of job search scams and other ways that people will try to steal your identity, take your money or otherwise involve you in something that will negatively impact your daily life.

Here are several ways to help protect yourself as you conduct your job search.

  • Always research the company before making any commitments or accepting opportunities; use the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and online research to source out information about them
  • Review the contact information provided; if the email address does not seem valid, the phone number goes to nowhere or the address is to a P.O. Box, be wary
  • If you find a position on an aggregate site, always go the company’s site to see if the opening is actually available
  • Do not use your social security number on resumes, cover letters or other job search documents; the exceptions are government-based resumes and actual applications with specific companies that you have vetted
  • Do not pay for the opportunity to work
  • Avoid giving out any financial or credit card information to anyone; companies do valid credit and backgrounds checks, but they will typically only do so once you have been extended an offer, have accepted a position or have signed an authorization document
  • Job descriptions that are vague or unclear may be a warning that the job is questionable

Job search scams vary, and new ones pop up all the time.  In general, you want to avoid these types of situations.

  • Financial scams: these scary situations can include expecting you to pay to apply for a job, to send money to a person or group, to transfer money on behalf of a person, to pay for placement in a position and more
  • Promises scams: these companies promise or guarantee you a job or extreme money-making opportunities; these types of scams can be hard to differentiate from legitimate jobs, so you may have to trust your instincts about unrealistic promises
  • Work at home scams: these scenarios are when you are offered “at home” work, but they turn out to be things like multi-level marketing schemes or pay-for-products/software/fees scams; it is important to know that a number of companies offer legitimate opportunities for telecommuting
  • Buying scams: in this situation, a company expects you to purchase something from them to get additional help (trainings, etc.)
  • Help you scams: some companies may offer to share your resume or represent you to other companies; legitimate headhunters may contact you for employment opportunities, but be wary of people who don’t have actual opportunities or ask you to sign an exclusive with them
  • Selling your name scams: some companies have you apply for positions, where no position actually exists, and then sell your name and information to third parties (like telemarketers)

Please know that there are many unethical, uncomfortable or unusual situations out there that you may face when job searching.  For example, you may be placed in a situation, without warning, to sell something as part of an interview, or you may have employers request atypical job application documents. For some companies, these are valid and necessary requests as part of their application or interview process.  You will have to research and rely on your instincts to determine if opportunities and companies are valid options for your situation so that you are not scammed out of your own personal well-being.

Resources and References:

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

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