There are a lot of people looking for a job right now and the majority of that job searching is done on the Internet. While this is generally a safe and effective way to find work and interact with potential employers, there are people out there looking to take advantage of innocent job seekers. It is important to be cautious and alert while searching for work online.
- Don’t give out personal information such as your address or phone number. It is especially important to not give out any financial information such as bank account, PayPal or credit card numbers. Do not agree to have money deposited into your account from an unknown employer. Do not give out your Social Security or driver’s license numbers.
- Most legitimate employers will email you from a company email address. Be cautious about a potential employer who is sending you messages from a webmail account such as hotmail or Gmail.
- Know who you are dealing with. Learn all you can about a company or individual who is offering you an employment opportunity. You should:
-Do a search online
-Check out their local newspaper
-Call the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in their area
-Check with the Secretary of State where they are located to see if they are a legitimate company
-Contact the Better Business Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission to see if there are any complaints about the company
-Visit the U.S. Consumer Assistance Directory to find a consumer protection agency near you and get more information.
- You should never have to pay money to an employer. Some online job offers will attempt to charge you fees such as a one time processing fee, a background check fee or a starter kit fee. These are all scams. No legitimate employer will ever make you pay in order to start a job.
- Beware of fraudulent job ads. Be careful of job ads with grammatical and spelling mistakes or jobs that sound too good to be true. They usually are.
Beware of These Scams
- Work at home scams. There are many types of work at home scams. Be cautious about work at home job offers you didn’t request such as out of the blue emails. Some scammers will ask you to send them money before they will send you work. This is a scam. Some work at home scams will offer you payment in advance for work you haven’t done yet. If you deposit these checks they gain access to your financial information and can clean you out. You will also be liable to the bank for the amount of the bad check.
- Online job search scams. Similar to work at home scams, certain job offers may ask you to register with a job search website. Once you have registered, they have access to your personal information. They may also send you an email saying that there has been an error and asking you for more information or to click on a link in the email. Many times these are attempts to gather personal information or to infect your computer with a harmful virus.
- Fraudulent check scams. It is common for con artists to send you a check, either as payment for work you have not done yet or as part of the job, and have you cash the check and then send back a portion of the money to the company. This is a scam. Not only is the job illegitimate, the check is illegitimate and you will be responsible for paying the bank back the full amount of the check. This same type of scam has also become increasingly common using only online transfers of money, especially in PayPal. A legitimate employer will never ask you to deposit money into or route money through your personal accounts.