Looking for a job? If so, it's likely that scammers are looking for you. Knowing that job hunters are in a vulnerable state of mind, scammers take advantage by placing phony job postings. They put job ads where legitimate companies do -- online, in newspapers, and on TV -- and promise things that are usually too good to be true, such as great money for little work or the ability to work from home. The job titles are typically very generic, like "sales representative" or "administrative assistant."
When people start to go through the "employment process," they find out the "employer" wants them to pay a fee before they can start working, stating it's for training materials or something similar. Or, they may ask for credit card or banking information, or request a new bank account be opened. However, once people comply with the instructions, the scammers (and, with them, the money) disappear.
If you think you're already involved in this type of scam, here's what to do:
~Stop any further contact with the scammer and stop transferring money.
~Close your bank account and report the matter to your bank.
~Consider contacting the FTC.
Here are some tips for avoiding "Help Wanted" scams in the first place:
~Before responding to a job posting, research the company that's advertising the job to make sure it's legitimate.
~Use very specific search terms when looking for job postings online.
~There shouldn't be any reason for you to send money to a potential employer, so don't.
~Never give potential employers banking information prior to being hired (though this might be part of the process for setting up direct deposit once you're employed).
~Trust your gut. If something seems fishy about the situation, stop the process until you do further research.
Finally, remember that the bad guys are just waiting for you to be in the wrong place at the wrong time! So, be choosy about where you look for employment listings. Try your local library, college career service offices, or the CareerOne Stop site, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
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