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Don't fall for job scams

Better Business Bureau

It's easy for job seekers to fall victim to employment scams. Here are some common offers from potential employers that should raise a red flag.

Become rich without leaving home. While legitimate businesses allow employees to work from home, there are others trying to take advantage of seniors, stay-at-home moms, students and handicapped people. Job hunters should use caution when considering a work-at-home offer. You can research a company at bbb.org.

Pay up front. It's rarely advisable for an applicant to pay a fee or make a purchase to get a job. The Better Business Bureau often hears from job hunters who paid a phony employer for "required" background checks or training for jobs that didn't exist. Always research the job thoroughly before opening your wallet. Also be wary of career-placement companies that ask for large up-front fees to find you a job.

Salary and benefits seem too good to be true. The old adage holds true: If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Phony employers might brag about exceptional salary potential and excellent benefits for little work and no experience in order to lure in unsuspecting job hunters.

Employer e-mails are full of grammatical and spelling errors. Internet fraud is often perpetrated by people outside the United States. Their first language usually isn't English, and this is evident in e-mails that contain poor grammar and the misspelling of common words.

Check your credit report. After posting resumes online or responding to online job listings, many job hunters receive what they think is good news: an e-mail from an employer. To be considered for the job, the applicant has to check his or her credit report through a recommended website. The truth is, the e-mail is just an attempt to get the job hunter to divulge financial information or sign up for credit monitoring.

The employer is quick to ask for personal information. Some job seekers have been surprised to learn they've gotten a job without having to do an interview. But when the employer asks for personal information to fill out paperwork, suspicions are raised — and rightly so. Regardless of the reason, a job applicant should never give out Social Security or bank-account numbers over the phone or via e-mail. You should only disclose sensitive information after confirming the employer is legitimate.

You must wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram or re­ceive and forward suspicious goods. Many phony jobs require the employee to cash a check sent by the company through the mail and then wire part of the money on to another entity. Reasons given for this requirement vary. Whatever the reason, though, the check might clear the employee's bank account, but it will eventually turn out to be a fake and the employee is out the money he or she wired back. The Better Business Bureau also warns against receiving and mailing items such as electronics or luxury goods overseas.

Don't fall for job scams 10/04/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 4, 2010 5:04pm]

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