Millions of Americans fall victim to job scams each year. Here are verified ways to keep you and your money safe when looking for a new job.
In 2021, a record number of Americans voluntarily quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of those who resigned cited low pay, lack of advancement, and feeling disrespected at work as the top reasons behind why they decided to leave their jobs and seek out new employment, a Pew Research Center survey found.
As “The Great Resignation” continues in 2022, job scams are on the rise. In June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a consumer alert warning job seekers about phony job postings. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from falling victim to a scam when looking for a new job.
WHAT WE FOUND
Scammers typically advertise jobs in some of the same ways legitimate employers do — they may create fake job listings in online ads, on job sites, like Indeed or LinkedIn, on college employment websites, through email, and even on social media, according to the FTC, FBI, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). But, despite offering job seekers the promise of new employment, the FTC says all these scammers really want is money and people’s personal information.
Work-from-home job scams, such as reshipping or reselling merchandise scams, and nanny, caregiver, or virtual assistant job scams are examples of some of the most common employment scams listed on the FTC’s website. Other potential scams include mystery shopper scams, job placement service scams, and government and postal jobs scams.
“Many people would like to work from home and generate income. Scammers know this, so they place ads, often online, claiming that they have jobs where you can make thousands of dollars a month working from home with little time and effort,” the FTC writes.
“But instead of making money, you end up paying for starter kits, ‘training,’ or certifications that are useless. If someone offers you a job and they claim that you can make a lot of money in a short period of time and with little work, that’s a scam.”
Job scam warning signs
When looking for a new job, there are several red flags to look out for. These include payment requirements in order to get a job, on-the-spot interviews without any prior contact from the company, and lack of preparation by a hiring manager, FINRA writes on its website. Other warning signs include the following:
“You should not have to pay an employer or an employment firm to get a job. Nor should you be asked to provide payment for any materials unless you have been hired and clearly agree to pay for something associated with the job, such as supplies or equipment,” FINRA said.
How to protect yourself from a job scam
The FTC, FBI and FINRA all share tips on how to protect yourself from falling victim to a job scam. These include the following:
FINRA says you should immediately hang up on an interviewer if they ask you to provide personal or financial information, or to pay a fee that you did not expect. You should also avoid responding to similar written requests about payment.
“If anything about the way the job interview or hiring process seems suspicious, contact the organization directly on your own to confirm the legitimacy of the position before taking any further action,” FINRA said.
How to report a job scam
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a job scam, you can file a report with the FTC, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, your state attorney general, or the local consumer protection agency in your area.