Job hunting can be stressful, and the growing number of employment scams can make it even more overwhelming. Scammers are using fake employment opportunities to target applicants’ personal information and trick them into handing over money. They can advertise positions the same way legitimate employers do—in print newspapers or online through job posting websites, LinkedIn, and through social media.
One common job scam involves a fraudulent check. Once you are hired, your new “employer” will send you a (fraudulent) check. They detail how to deposit the check, instruct you to purchase equipment, supplies, or training, or ask for you to use a cash app like Western Union, Bitcoin, or other money transfer services. The scammer often requests that the money be transferred before you and your financial institution realize the check is fake.
It is not uncommon for a legitimate employer to use a job placement company to recruit new employees. The job placement organization will bill the employer, not the new hire. If you are asked to pay a placement fee, it is likely a scam.
Numerous job scammers are asking for personally identifiable information, like your birth date, Social Security number, or bank information. A legitimate employer will only ask for this information once hired for payroll purposes.
What to do if you paid a scammer
- Contact the company you used to send the funds as soon as possible and report the fraud. Inquire if there is anything that can be done to stop or reverse the transaction.
- Report it to the FTC. It is encouraged to also report it to your state’s attorney general.
What can you do to avoid being victim of a job scam?
- …give out personal information like date of birth, Social Security number, or bank information during the interview stages. Employers will request that information after an official offer is given.
- …send the employer money or cash a check they send you.
- …be wary of terms like “quick money” or “unlimited earning potential” used in job descriptions.
- …check to see if you can find the job opening posted directly on the organization’s website. You can call the organization and verify the position and the person you are interviewing with.
- …use caution if offered the job quickly without verifying work experience or asking for references.