While many Americans are still facing unemployment or job pay rates that aren’t quite enough to support a family, the national unemployment rate in May 2022 stood steady at 3.6%, according to the Monthly Jobs Report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that was released on June 3. While that is good news for the economy, the flip side is that more job scams are out there, preying on folks who are earnestly looking for employment.
The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Marketing Practices Division reported that over 16,000 job scam reports have already been filed during the first part of this year.
While these scams can vary, the most common “red flags” that scammers fly involve trying to gather personal information, sending bills for things that were never purchased, or offering jobs that involve illegal activities, such as reshipping merchandise which was purchased with stolen credit card information.
For those seeking honest employment, be on the lookout for potential scams. According to CNN, there are a few signs that the job listing may not be what it appears to be.
1. If the job sounds great, and the ad is professional and/or clever, but the job description is very brief or lacking in detail, requires little to no skills, or guarantees quick and easy money, beware! Check out the company’s website, locate the job postings and apply from there if everything checks out.
2. If someone calls with a job offer with an unknown or unfamiliar company, emphasizes the need to hire right now, and hasn’t requested a resume or any other documentation, ask about the business and get the URL for the website. If the caller has no concrete information or offers vague answers, it’s probably best to take a pass.
3. If a company asks for extra-private personal information, such as a social security number or a driver’s license number at the beginning of the interaction, take a closer look. When the hiring process is beginning, legitimate companies are screening candidates and only need basic information, such as the applicant’s name, address, phone number, and email address, and will usually request a resume or curriculum vitae. There is no reason to give out social security or driver’s license numbers unless a job offer is on the table.
4. If there’s any request for up-front payment, it’s most likely a scam. Money is usually only discussed in compensation negotiations and funds would be coming to the potential employee, not the hiring business. Any company that asks for an initial investment is most likely involved in criminal activities.
While it’s unfortunate that there are people lying in wait to scam job seekers, the unemployed, the elderly, and other vulnerable folks, knowledge about what these swindlers are doing may offer a layer of protection against them.