7 Tips to Avoid Employment Search Scams

It’s a jungle out there, and you don’t want to get eaten. Since unemployment continues to be a pervasive problem in this country, many people are desperately searching for jobs. Because of that desperation, they, and others looking for new places of employment, may end up as prey to employment search scams. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t get mauled by some scheme:

Be careful if you receive an unsolicited email about a job opening

You may be checking your email one day, and you get all excited over getting an email about the job of your dreams. It could be for real, or it could be a scam. If it comes from a recruiter who has an email address from the business, and a verifiable reputation, and specifically references your qualifications, it’s probably the real deal. But if you get an email that is poorly written, comes from a generic email company, or from an overseas address, or sounds a little fishy, watch out. Before you respond to anyone, do an internet search on the recruiter to see if they are for real.

Don’t give your social security number out right away

When is the time to give out your social security number for a job? While some companies will ask as part of a job application, you should be careful about giving it out. Do not give out your social security number willy-nilly, especially if it is somebody who approaches you on the internet. The same goes with a driver’s license number. A reputable employer will understand your hesitance to give out such information. A scam artist will not.

Be wary about work-at-home jobs

These days, there really are legitimate ways to work at home.  However, be very careful, especially when it comes to paying upfront fees. In many cases, the fees are illegitimate, and a scam, and you will never actually get a job out of it.

Don’t pay a fee for a job

In most cases, recruiters get paid for by the employer, not you. Watch out for any recruiter who claims that they will find you a job in exchange for a fee. Chances are that you will have no job, and be out of money, too.

Watch out for the money order and repackaging scams

You could find yourself on the hook financially to the tune of thousands if you get involved with the money order scam, where you receive money (via a check that will likely bounce) and then send out money orders overseas. You could also lose money with the repackaging scheme, where you are sent products, and then resend it. Think about it – why wouldn’t the original company be able to send out the money orders or the products themselves?

Look out for job scams using the federal government

Some of these scammers promising access to government jobs are pretty slick, with professional presentations at hotels and college campuses. But as professional as these people look, they don’t have any special access or key to federal government jobs – you can go to USAjobs.gov and get access to jobs for free.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is

Be very careful when you are looking for a job, and make sure that it isn’t scam. Even if it is not listed as one of the scams here, it could be some sort of scheme. So do a search on it, and read up to see if it is a scam.  Generally speaking, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Lisa Swan writes on career issues for the Institute for Coaching.