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Watch out for scams targeting job hunters

There's nothing lower in my opinion than someone who scams job hunters. • People in job hunts are vulnerable. Emotions are tender. Finances are worrisome. • To victimize them by offering fake work-at-home jobs or promising "access to the hidden job market" (which doesn't exist) is reprehensible.

Even worse is to charge desperate job seekers a fee that's grossly disproportionate to the value of the service given.

That's why I was delighted to learn recently that the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on "scammers who push phony jobs and bogus money-making schemes."

The agency introduced Operation Bottom Dollar along with a recap of lawsuits it has filed against 11 companies (charging them with deceptive practices) and 43 criminal cases filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against job scammers.

Law enforcement actions have been taken against Government Careers Inc., Real Wealth Inc., Darling Angel Pin Creations, Abili-Staff Ltd., Entertainment Work Inc., Independent Marketing Exchange Inc., Preferred Platinum Services Network, Job Safety USA, Career Hotline Inc., Penbrook Productions and International Marketing.

Whatever the legal outcomes, job hunters are wise to steer clear of those entities.

Meanwhile, CareerBuilder, Monster, Bing and Craigslist have agreed to display on their Web sites the FTC's consumer education materials about job scams.

The director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection came out of the gate with fightin' words:

"If you falsely advertise that you will connect people with jobs or with opportunities for them to make money working from home, we will shut you down. We will give your assets to the people you scammed."

Unless and until government lawyers shut down job scams, job hunters need to watch for too-good-to-be-true offers. Be suspicious of companies that ask for money up front for home-based jobs or access to openings.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star. Her "Your Job" blog at economy.kansascity.com includes daily posts about job-related issues of wide interest.

Watch out for scams targeting job hunters 03/01/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 1, 2010 10:50am]
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