Red Flags for Jobs Online
In 2007, 73% of job seekers reported using online sources to find a job, up from 66% in 2005. In 2007 alone, the Federal Trade Commission recorded more than 11,000 complaints about business opportunities including work-at-home scams, many of which were advertised online. The number of people who actually report being a victim of fraud when searching for a job is only the tip of the iceberg. BBB expects that instances of online job search fraud will continue to grow in the coming months as unemployment rates rise.
Red Flag: Employer emails are rife with grammatical and spelling errors
Most online fraud is perpetrated by scammers located outside the US. Poor grasp of the English language can include poor grammar, incorrect syntax and the misspelling of common words.
Red Flag: Emails claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account
Phishing emails like this are designed to convince readers to click a link within the message to fix the issue, but actually take them to a Web site that will install malware or viruses on their computer.
Red Flag: An employer asks for extensive personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers
Regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, a job applicant should never give out his or her Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone or email.
Red Flag: An employer offers the opportunity to become rich without leaving home
While there are legitimate businesses that allow employees to work from home, there are also a lot of scammers trying to take advantage of senior citizens, stay-at-home moms, students and injured or handicapped people looking to make money at home. Job hunters should use extreme caution when considering a work-at-home offer and always research the company at www.bbb.org
Red Flag: An employer asks for money upfront – credit score or background check
Aside from paying for a uniform it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees or make a required purchase to get a job. Most recently, the BBB of Metropolitan Dallas uncovered a scam where job hunters were told they had to pay $64.50 for a background check before they could be considered for a cleaning job. A similar scam is when the company asks for your credit score and gives a link to click. Predictably, after paying for the background check or credit report, the job seekers never hear from the company again.
Red Flag: The salary and benefits offered seem too-good-to-be-true
Phony employers might brag about exceptionally high salary potential and excellent benefits for little experience in order to lure unsuspecting job hunters into their scam.
Red Flag: The job requires wiring money through Western Union or MoneyGram
Many phony jobs require the prospective employee to cash a check sent by the company through the mail and then wire a portion of the money on to another entity. Reasons given for this requirement vary from scam to scam. Whatever the reason though, the check may take up to several months to come back as fake and the employee is out the total amount of the check.