Types of Employment Scams to Watch Out For

Types of Employment Scams to Watch Out For

Are you job searching and worried about getting scammed? Many scams involve fake job listings. With a fake job scam, a scammer lists a job, but the job doesn’t exist. 

The scammer uses the job listing to get job seekers to provide personal information, including their Social Security number, credit card information, and bank account information. The information is then used to access your bank account or your credit cards and to steal your identity.

Tip: Fake job scams often attempt to get job seekers to wire money from their bank, send money via Western Union or otherwise send money to the scammer.

Job and Employment Scam Examples

It’s important to be able to differentiate legitimate job opportunities from fake job listings that could result in you being scammed if you’ve decided to pursue them.

Fake job emails often have red flags that indicate the sender isn’t a legitimate employer. For example, you might notice small errors or typos in the email, or the sender might offer you a job without an interview. They might ask for money or personal information early in the process or ask you to buy your own software or equipment.

These are a few examples of employment scams:

Credit Report Scams

Here’s an example of a credit report scam email sent to a Craigslist applicant: “The company would like to take this moment to thank you for your response to our Craigslist job posting, as well as inform you that, after reading through your resume, we are interested in discussing this job opportunity with you in person. To proceed to the next step of the hiring process, you will need to get your credit score checked.” The applicant is directed to a website where they will input personal information including name, address, Social Security number, etc.

Fake Job Application Scam

In a job application scam, the victim is asked to complete a job application online. The link takes you to a website where you are to fill out all info needed to steal your identity. The email says something like: “We look forward to reviewing your application and bringing you in for an interview but cannot do so until you complete our company application.”

Background Check Scams

With this scam, a job seeker is told a position has just opened up, and a phone interview or an instant message interview is conducted. The applicant is notified that they would be responsible for the cost of the background check. Then the applicant is told that they must purchase a pre-paid $75 Visa debit card and send it to the interviewer to pay for the background check.

Startup Kit Scams

These are also called work-at-home assembly job scams. Companies may offer to sell you a kit you can use to assemble products to sell. You’ll most likely end up paying for a kit, and you won’t make any money.

Pay for Software Scams

The company asks applicants to set up a messaging account for the job briefing and interview. The company then explains that the applicant will need to buy programs in advance and say they will reimburse the candidate.

Bait-and-Switch Scams

This job description isn’t what it seems: Start entry-level, develop transferable skills, work with the world’s leading corporations, advance to new positions, make money, and along the way, figure out what you want to be when you grow up. It sounds good, but the job is door-to-door sales.

Pay for Training Materal Scams

The company asks candidates to complete interview tasks such as testing on accounting questions. Then they will tell you that they are going to set you up with software so you can work at home. Instead of a package, they send a cashier’s check. They ask the applicant to deposit the check into their bank, then withdraw funds, and then send those funds via Western Union to get the “training” materials.

Online Training Scams

In this scam, the job seeker receives an email from a person about a job they applied for that was filled. The scammer will claim to have another job that the person is qualified for…if they pay for online training. This scam typically uses the name of a legitimate company and an email address similar to the real company name.

Direct Deposit Scams

The applicant is offered the job via email and told that all employees are paid via direct deposit with the company’s banking institution with no additional cost. The applicant is sent to a website to sign up and told: “After registering your direct deposit confirmation, please respond back to this email with your ideal interview date/time. Remember, you need your direct deposit account info before your interview, as we will be processing your payment information at that time.”

Trial Employment Scams

The applicant is told that they were selected as one of two people to go through a three-week trial period. The name of the company and the website seem legitimate, but they ask you to fill out a contract with personal information including your Social Security number.

How To Avoid Job Scams

As you can see, it can be hard to tell if a job is a scam or legitimate. To avoid being taken advantage of, remember these tips for avoiding scams:   

  • Research the company before responding to their email.
  • Carefully review the job description to look for signs that it’s a scam.
  • Be aware of a reasonable salary range for the position—and be suspicious of any offers that far exceed that range.
  • Never volunteer personal information such as bank account numbers during the interview process.
  • Remember that legitimate employers will not ask you to pay for a background check, training, or a kit in order to get started.

Tip: Review the top 10 warning signs that a job is a scam.

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  • January 12, 2023