How Job Seekers Can Avoid Employment Scams in the Job Market
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In early June, the media reported on a worrying new trend on the job market: employment scams. As people desperately continue to seek employment, more and more of these fake ‘employers’ try to take advantage of the job-seekers’ situations. According to an article by nwi.com about the job scam phenomenon, money transfer mystery shopping ‘jobs’ and pay per click jobs that compensate through Western Union are some of the most common attempts at this type of fraud. Perhaps the most common form of employment scam is the one which involves upfront job costs. Such alleged costs would cover credit checks, job application processing, recruitment fees, and office supplies. As the more cautious of you would imagine, securing a job should never involve upfront money. The above mentioned article advises job-seekers to exercise prudence and never send money to someone they don’t know or haven’t met in person. You should follow this advice no matter how professional the employer may seem. We’ll help you avoid employment scams in the job market.
Aside from money, some job scams may cost you your freedom or open you to identity theft. Here are the most common types of job scams that you might come across on the market – consider yourself warned!
1. Hand-picked listings
The scenario unfolds like this: you send a job agency payment. They deliver a list of exclusive job openings, pre-screened according to your skills and experience. Unfortunately, you’re often left with a list of jobs that you could have easily found online.
Phishing (essentially fraud coupled with identity theft) has existed about as long as the Internet. The current conditions on the job market, underscored by the job-seekers’ eagerness to increase their odds at employment, have made this scam particularly effective with its unorthodox acts. Never give out your personal details to an organization that seems suspicious. Always install an anti-virus program on your PC to protect yourself against phishing attempts.
3. Reshipping ‘jobs’
You might stumble upon a job offer that involves forwarding or reshipping a package from an employer. You might even receive the money for it. However, be aware that these situations typically involve stolen goods. In the eyes of the law, participation could make you an accessory to a crime.
4. The Nigerian scam with a job
Ideally, you should already know that emails in poor English promising massive amounts of money are trickery. Be aware, another version of this email is floating around the Internet. This version promises the receiver a job. Obviously, no job is involved.
5. Government money for nothing
This myth has been perpetuated for a long time now by various, shady organizations. The truth is that free government money does not exist. If anything, the economy is still undergoing the post-recession era. No government will hand out cash for no reason. Even if they did, why would you have to receive the money via some dubious middleman?
How to stay safe from job scams
As with any type of fraud, you can never safeguard yourself 100 percent against job scams. However, several red flags can tip you off. These warning signs can help you avoid losing your money and willpower. While they don’t necessarily need to point to any suspicious activity, you should approach any employee that behaves this way with cautiousness.
- Invest now! A job is supposed to earn you money. A legitimate job will never force you to spend money. Any recruiter or potential employer that asks you to invest money, is likely out to trick you.
- It all sounds too good to be true… Ever stumbled upon one of those ads that promises above-average salaries, short hours, and work-at-home arrangements? Don’t get your hopes up: if a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Seems legit – but is it? Before you sign any contracts (or any other type of document), make sure your employer is legitimate. Research them thoroughly, and run a Google search of the company name followed by the word ‘scam.’ See if anyone else has ever complained about this potential employer.
- Commissions. If you’re thinking of going in for a job that promises a commission instead of an hourly wage, make sure you understand the terms of the deal before you put your John Hancock on any papers. Otherwise, you could actually end up paying more than you’ll earn.