The Internet has revolutionized the job search. Before the net, applications required a phone call and a face-to-face meeting; but with the rise of online job boards, an email or two containing a resume and cover letter can be all that separates you from your next job. A word of warning, however: Many dream jobs advertised online are just that imaginary. And you could be setting yourself up for a rude awakening.
One of the victims of the said fraudulent expounds, “I had my own awakening one morning last summer. I applied to be an assistant teacher at a downtown Los Angeles school. The listing provided a link to another site where I filled in my personal information. I thought my data would only be used in the event the employer liked my resume, but the next day I received calls from a number in Scarsdale, N.Y. I reached a telemarketer who, instead of offering me an interview, advertised continuing education classes. I quickly realized that what I thought was a job was actually fancy dressing for spam. “This practice, known as “phishing,” is illegal, but is common online. Spammers will mine for personal information on the Internet while posing as a bank, an online store or an employer.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, some 72,940 complaints of online fraud were received in 2008; 7.9 percent (or 5,762) of the total involved “confidence schemes,” which comprise job scams such as my own. Karen Hobbs, an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, a government agency that investigates online fraud, warns that any job listing that advertises “easy money,” “guaranteed job placement” or an “upfront fee” could be job fraud. These schemes could offer licensing or accreditation, but charge a fee for “training,” and then offer a phony license and no job prospects. Moreover, other schemes take the form of “secret shopper” fraud; a company or person will wire you a check, ask you to deposit it immediately, and — before the check can bounce — ask you to wire your money into their account.
Micron Associates advises against offering too much personal information. For example, don’t offer date of birth or driver’s license number. Try to research the position and the company as long as the job is not confidential as much as possible if there is something that sounds like they are trying to hide something, they probably are. You should also never pay upfront fees. Employers pay those fees — people don’t pay those fees.” Her advice is to “see these people in person. Don’t pay anything or wire money without seeing someone.” “Deal locally with folks you can meet in person,” and it is sound. Always be wary of anyone offering employment from out of state. Fraudsters think they can get away with anything because they are anonymous; do not allow them that luxury.If you are caught in a job scam, the best practice is to first contact a host of agencies that can help you deal with the problem. These include the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the B