With high unemployment and more people looking for work-from-home opportunities, job scams will seek to profit from tragedy. These scams will try to manipulate you to give them money and/or your personal information. Since theses scams advertise alongside legitimate job opportunities, they can be hard to discern.
Here are some of the warning signs of an employment scam:
1. It seems too easy.
Were you offered a position right away? Does the job promise a lot of money for little work or hours? Often when something sounds too good to be true, it is. If your gut tells you something is off, do further research on the company.
2. You are asked to pay money up front
A legitimate business will provide you with materials needed to do your job. A scam might ask for your bank account or PayPal information before legitimate documentation like a W-2. Some scams may ask for this information to wire you money or set up a direct deposit.
Scams may tell you that you have to pay for training materials, a credit report, or shipping products. Illegal pyramid schemes will often ask members to buy a large stock of their product which members cannot return and then struggle to sell.
3. They make extravagant promises
Whether it is promising a job, a high salary, or a luxurious lifestyle, these scams will tell you whatever lies they need to get your money. A job listing should give information about the position, not what your lifestyle might be if you join. In a legitimate business, an interview is not a guarantee of a position.
4. There isn't a lot of specific details
A scam job listing may be vague about qualifications and job responsibilities. When you ask more questions, a scam recruiter might give inconsistent or unclear answers. A legitimate company should have clear answers about a position when they are conducting a job search.
What should I do if I think this is an employment scam?
Cut off communication with them and do not provide the scam with any personal information. If you have given out personal information, contact your bank and consider a plan to combat identity theft. Find out how to report a job scam to the FTC here.
What if someone I care about is involved in an employment scam?
If you can, try to calmly explain your concerns with them. Do not belittle them for being the victim of a predatory scam. Shame is a poor motivator and is not likely to help them change their mind. If you can't convince them it is a scam, encourage them to take the following measures: protect their bank account information, ask more detailed questions about the company, and keep a detailed account of any expenses and sales they accrue.
If they offer to sell you product as part of a scam, ask if you can give them cash directly, rather than buying the product. Direct financial help addresses the issue that led them to a scam and shows you care about them, not the fraudulent company.
For more tips on finding jobs at this time, please register for this "panel [28 May 2020,
12:30 - 1:30 PM EST] on what you need to know about looking for jobs right now, joined by nonprofits that are continuing to hire, like City Year (Guest: Stephanie Chávez, Managing Director, Regional Recruitment & Admissions, Midwest) and others" with Idealist Mutual Aid.