In one example, scammers posted a help-wanted ad on Craigslist.org for an opportunity using the name of an actual professional organization. When job hunters responded to the ad, the scammers sent them checks to deposit. Consumers were told keep a portion of the check as their pay and to wire the rest to a third party via Western Union. Of course, the checks eventually bounced, and victims lost their money.
Scammers also stole the name of a small construction company and sent emails to local consumers promoting a “job opportunity” at the company, and encouraging applicants to fill out an online form. Of course, the form, found on a fake website, asked for personal information, leaving job seekers vulnerable to identity theft.
Job seekers can protect themselves by following a few rules of thumb:
- Verify with the company - Check out the business' website to make sure the opening is posted there. If you are still skeptical, call the business to verify the opening.
- Search for the job online - If a job looks suspicious, search for it on Google. If the exact same job posting comes up in many other cities, it may well be a scam.
- Look for errors: Scam job postings often contain grammatical errors, misspellings and an overabundance of exclamation marks.
- Keep private information private – Avoid job listings that ask you to share personal information or to send money. Scammers often ask for money to pay for running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or paying for training. Don’t give up a dime!