How to Avoid Job Scams
When you’re looking for part-time work and need extra cash for school, it’s important that you know the signs of common job scams. Follow these tips and trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is!
General Good Sense Tips for the Interview Process
- If you apply for a posting via email, do not accept the position without a phone or in-person interview. You and the employer need to make a mutual decision about employment.
- If the position is local to Milledgeville but the person you are communicating with cannot meet you in person at the place of business, you should be leery of the opportunity.
- It is normal for out-of-state companies to use phone interviews or Skype interviews for internship interviews. HOWEVER, before you accept the position, verify that the position is with a legitimate company.
- Keep in mind that a company should not ask for your social security number over the internet to process payroll. These forms are completed in person at the place of business, typically on the first day of work. You should only complete federal forms authorized by the US Federal Government such as the W-4, I-9 and I-20.
- You should only set-up direct deposit with an employer once you have accepted a job offer and have reported to your first day of work at a legitimate business.
- If you are agreeing to do a virtual job where you will be paid, be cautious. If you do not have an opportunity to meet the organization in person before accepting the job, you are taking a huge risk.
About Local Jobs
As you apply to local jobs in Milledgeville, use good common sense and judgment. If a local business posts a job but doesn’t have a website, you can still apply for the job. HOWEVER, be smart during the correspondence and make sure you are talking to the actual business. Job scammers are clever and may use the names of businesses you know and love to lure you into a scheme. If a local business will not conduct an interview with you in person at their place of business, then BEWARE!
Common Job Scam Warnings
The following items should get your attention if they occur while you are applying to a job. Keep in mind that job scams change all the time and this information is not an exhaustive list. Our best tip to you is to trust your instincts!
- You must provide your credit card, bank account numbers or other personal financial documentation. No one, other than the federal government, should ever ask for your social security number during the job application process.
- You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account to deposit checks or transfer money.
- The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume. Typically, resumes sent to an employer are reviewed by multiple individuals or not viewed until the posting has closed. Even for a local job, an employer wants to choose the best candidate and will take the time to read your resume. However, it is completely normal to receive an auto-response message from a company after sending a resume.
- Someone asks you to submit your social security number over the internet.
- The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company such as a popular Fortune 500. However, the domain in the contact's email address does not match the domain of the company website or other representatives of the company. Another way to validate is to check the open positions on the company's website.
- The positing appears to be from a local business that is popular in the community but once you apply, the individual changes the job duties and will not meet with you in person at the place of business to discuss the job.
- The contact email address contains the firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Watch for anonymity. Does the email address domain match the person’s name? Does the person’s name tend to change during each email correspondence? If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, company name etc. - this is cause to proceed with caution. Fraud postings are illegal, so scammers will try to keep themselves well-hidden.
- The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.
- The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
- The position initially appears as a traditional job...upon further research, it sounds like a job where you are considered an independent contractor and not truly an employee of the company. Always be leery of part-time jobs that promise a huge commission or salary without any true affiliation with the company.
- You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
- The posting neglects to mention the responsibilities of the job and focuses instead on the amount of money to be made.
- The position indicates a "first year compensation" that is in high excess to the average compensation for that position type.
- Look at the company's website. Does it have an index that tells you what the site is about; or does it contain information only about the job you are interested in? Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance.
- When you Google the company name and the word "scam" (i.e. Acme Company Scam), the results show several scam reports concerning this company. Another source for scam reports is: www.ripoffreport.com.
- Google the employer's phone number, fax number and/or email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag. You can use the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org/us/consumers; Hoovers, www.hoovers.com, and AT&T's Anywho, www.anywho.com , to verify organizations.
- The employer contacts you by phone; however there is no way to call back. The number is not available.
- The employer tells you that they do not have an office set-up in your area and will need you to help them get it up and running. These postings often include a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions.
What if You are Already Involved in a Scam?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), someone involved in a job scam should follow these steps:
- Contact the local police so that they can conduct an investigation. If you are a current student, you may file a report with the GC Department of Public Safety at 478-445-4054
- If you have sent money to a fraudulent employer, contact your bank and credit card company immediately to close the accounts and dispute the charges
- Contact the three major credit reporting companies to place a flag on their credit reports regarding suspicious activity.
- If the incident occurred completely over the Internet, the student should file an incident report with the: www.cybercrime.gov, or by calling the FTC at: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
If you find something on Career Connection that seems to be a scam, notify the Career Center immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can take down the posting.