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Job Offer Scams

Don't Fall for Common Job-Hunting Scams

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Job-hunting scams have existed probably as long as job-hunting has existed, but the opportunities have only expanded as the Internet has grown.  In fact, with the Great Recession costing millions of people their jobs, the potential audience for identity thieves has multiplied.  As the competition for jobs tightens, job-seekers become increasingly anxious and more willing to bite at even the shadiest of lures.

The payment-transfer con is a common ruse for identity thieves.  The thief posts a fake job listing on an online job site, seeking someone to accept deposits into their personal bank account in order to transfer those deposits into overseas accounts.  No such job exists; the scam is an attempt to dupe job-seekers into providing the identity thief access to their personal bank accounts.

You need to keep a sharp eye out for bogus employment offers.  Identity thieves will even utilize recognizable corporate logos to build credibility for their fake listings.

Red flags to watch out for when looking for a job online include:

  • Any job posting that requests your personal information, such as your credit card data, your Social Security number (SSN), or the number on your driver's license.  No legitimate company needs your SSN in advance of a job interview, and your credit card information has no bearing on any real job.  Your best move is to provide only a resume with your work experience, details about your education, and contact information.  Save the personal details until after you've had an interview and had a chance to research the company.

  • Ads riddled with misspellings and strange sentence constructions.  Bizarre grammar and an inability to spell common words properly can be a sign that the job posting was created by a foreign identity thief who's unfamiliar with the English language.

  • Offers that come from free e-mail accounts, like Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, or AOL.  A genuine company usually has its own e-mail address.

  • Online offers from companies you've never contacted.  Legitimate headhunters and companies seeking workers don't troll for applicants.

  • Offers asking for advance payment for work permits, visas, or anything else that might provide access to your financial information.  Jobs "located" in Asia, the Middle East, and Nigeria are typically posted by scammers.

  • Requests for personal details, including your marital status, age, weight, and height.  Requesting such data is a violation of labor laws in this country.

Being unemployed can leave your finances in a vulnerable state.  Don't put them at further risk by falling for an online job-hunting scam. Keep a close eye on your credit report for any suspicious activity.

Last Updated: 17/08/2010 - 1:21 PM