There’s more than money at stake when it comes to a financial scam; consumers’ identities are also under attack. Opportunities that offer a large amount of money for minimal participation or investment are typically red flags, and there’s likely a criminal working to steal your money or personal information. Fraudsters pulling off imposter scams — attempting to earn your trust so you will send them money or personal information — can commit synthetic identity theft with just two pieces of your Personally Identifiable Information (PII), the kind of details often required to participate in “fast cash” or easy “work from home” jobs. Continue reading
CBS reports for every legitimate job posting, there are at least 60 scams. Scammers flock to online job boards and pose as legitimate employment opportunities, making it difficult for potential applicants to tell that they’re applying for a scam. The goal of these scams is to easily obtain personally identifiable information, financial information, or commit common check fraud schemes.
Applicants may be in a bind and desperate to find employment—or simply naïve due to lack of job search experience. Either way, this makes them the perfect target for a number of fraud schemes. How can you tell if you’re applying for a scam? Look out for these common red flags:
- Vague position or company
A brief listing that focuses more on the great pay than the actual job duties is a key tipoff to an employment scam.
- Hefty salary, minimal effort
There’s no free lunch. The promise of a large paycheck can lure even the most cautious of job seekers; remember not to get wide-eyed over this easy temptation.
- A scammer’s favorite career path
Mystery shopping, work-from-home and virtual assistant positions serve as bait for some of the most common employment scams. These positions encompass flexible payments and anonymity through strictly online interactions, making them highly susceptible to fraud.
- You need to wire money (especially overseas)
The recipient of a money transfer obtains the funds quickly, so it’s hard to recoup transferred funds if you discover it is part of a fraud scheme. Never accept a job that entails wiring payments and never wire money to someone you don’t know personally.
- Non-business domain name
Employers should use corporate email addresses to discuss available positions. Be wary of someone using a @gmail.com, @yahoo.com or other public domain name.
- Poor grammar and spelling
Cybercrime knows no borders, so English might not be the first language of many scammers. A poorly written job listing could allude to a scam.
- You have to pay to get the job/training
You should never have to pay to get a job or pay for any required training. Scammers will likely take your money and leave you with nothing.
- Guaranteed employment
No job will ever be guaranteed. If you see a position that claims the job is guaranteed, or if it says you will be eligible without experience, run the other way.
- Suspicious website
It’s 2015, every business should have a website. If they don’t, consider this a major red flag. If they do, analyze it carefully and look for signs it might be spoofed. A spoofed website is a replica of a legitimate site, scammers create them for major brands to give their scheme added credibility. Always verify that a position found on an online job board is also listed on the company’s website. (Use a search engine to find their website, not links provided in the posting.)
- Unnecessary personal information is required to apply
Pertinent personal information will be required during the final stages of the hiring process. Do not give prospective employers sensitive information such as your Social Security number or financial information until the job has been verified and secured.
Be sure to share these valuable job seeking tips with everyone you can to prevent scams from derailing a promising career before it can even begin.
Get other helpful information on how to protect your identity from a multitude of threats by visiting our Resources page.