In today’s Scambook news, Kevan talks about the American economy, the unemployment rate and scammers who are taking advantage of you with fake job offers. He discusses how looking for work can be a job in itself these days, and how most job seekers go online to Craigslist, LinkedIn, Careerbuilder, Simplyhired and other websites to look for employment ads. On Craigslist, con artists create fraudulent listings for jobs that don’t exist, using keywords like recruitment, careers, partners and staffing. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between a real Help Wanted ad and a fake one. Scambook members have reported over 200 complaints against fake employment agencies called First Premier Staffing and Wellman Careers & Partners. Job seekers reply to these ads and receive an automated letter from a hiring assistant or a human resources staffer, who asks you to fill out an online application form that asks for your Social Security number or your credit card number. This happens before you even schedule the interview! Kevan recommends that you sift out the real job ads from the fake ones by asking questions and researching the company on Scambook.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States continues to hover around 8% despite signs that the economy is slowly recovering. Approximately 5.9 million people are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they have been jobless for 27 weeks or more. In other words, there’s a lot of competition for jobs. Previously, you could find employment by looking in the local newspaper or even walking into a business and handing your resume to the receptionist. Today, everything is done online. Even if you step into a nearby store, the manager will probably direct you to apply on their website.
Craigslist has become a very popular forum for employers to advertise job openings. But just like any other section of the classified ad website, you need to be on guard against con artists when you look for work on Craigslist. You can’t always tell the difference between a fake job ad and a real one, but here are some warning signs we’ve identified based on our members’ reports. Pay attention to the red flags and follow these tips to stay safe while you’re hunting for a new career.
1. Look for companies using the keywords “recruitment,” “careers,” “partners” and “staffing.” Although not all companies who use these keywords are fraudulent, Scambook members have identified a variety of fake employers who are rely on these terms to sound official, including First Premier Staffing and Wellman Careers & Partners.
2. Watch out for employment offers that seem too good to be true and Human Resource representatives who are too eager to hire you. If you hear back from a “staffing assistant” who praises your experience and job history, read their email very carefully to see if they actually mention anything about your past employment or your skills. Our members have reported that job scam messages are usually very vague, with some members suspecting that the replies they receive are completely automated. Be careful if they want to hire you without coming into the office or at least conducting a phone interview.
3. If a potential employer needs you to complete an online application that requires your Social Security Number, or they demand your credit card info to perform a background or credit check, don’t do it. A legitimate employer may need this private information eventually, but they’ll ask for it after you’ve been hired or attended a few rounds of interviews.
4. If you’re having trouble figuring out whether that dream job offer is real or not, ask some questions about the position. Get specific. If they’re a real employer, they’ll be impressed that you’ve taken the initiative to learn more about their company. If they’re bogus, they’ll answer your questions with vague answers that don’t make any sense, or they’ll dodge them entirely.
Of course, none of these methods are 100% fool-proof, so it’s also very important to look up the company or individual on Scambook. Trust your instincts, too. If that work-from-home job promises something that’s too good to be true, it probably is.