When looking for your next great job, unfortunately you need to be aware that there are people who are looking to take advantage of you. Although the story they tell will change, a scam falls into one of two basic categories: 1. An attempt to get you to pay money; 2. An attempt to steal your identity.
How do they attempt to get you to pay money? Someone may pose as a recruiter stating he/she has a great employer with a high paying job, and all you need to do is pay a placement fee. Another variation of this tactic is to offer you “exclusive” job leads – leads that you can’t find elsewhere, and you can’t see until you pay a fee. Or there are “Work at Home” jobs where you are required to pay a fee for the initial packet of materials.
A good rule of thumb: NEVER pay for a job, or a lead to a job. Read the last sentence again, and let the word “never” sink into your head. No matter what the story is, or how convincing the person is, NEVER pay money. If you follow this rule of thumb, you will never get taken by this type of scam.
How do they attempt to steal your identity? You could receive a job offer, without ever meeting anyone face to face. Does this sound ridiculous? It should, but it won’t when they tell you their story – because they’ll make it sound real. The story changes every time, but usually is something like this: a major company outside of the US needs to transfer money into the US, or needs to deposit money from US sales, and will pay you a (a specified amount, or a percentage of the transaction) to put the money into your bank account. They will tell you this is a great job that pays great money, and you only have to work a few hours each week.
A good rule of thumb: NEVER give your credit card number(s), social security number, bank account number(s), or date of birth to any prospective employer without first meeting with the employer face to face. Resist the pressure to “act now” for a great opportunity that will have to go to someone else – let someone else get their identity stolen. If the employer does not have a local representative to meet with you in a face to face interview, you’ll only need to do a little research to find this great opportunity is nothing more than a scam.
Protect Yourself: When something sounds too good to be true you can research companies through the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission. You can find more detailed information on crimes committed via the internet and how to avoid them, from the US Government’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.