By Quentin Fottrell
Job seekers, beware. The Better Business Bureau says there’s been a rise in the number of fake job advertisements on social networking sites and job websites like Monster.com and Craigslist. Security experts say that with many unemployed people desperate for work, many scammers are finding it easier to take advantage of them. Unemployment was 9.1% in July, just down from 9.2% in June, according to the latest data.
“Job seekers need to be on the look-out for potential scams,” says Stephen A. Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Many job scammers are having candidates set up direct deposit accounts as part of the application process and making it seem as though it’s naturally part of the process to get an interview — when it’s absolutely not.”
What do they want? Your personal contact details, your social security number and any other information that will help them access your money. Most people’s resumes have an enormous amount of personal information, including date of birth, education and employment history, address, phone number and email. It’s a lot of information to hand over to a stranger, especially over the Internet.
Roger H. Schmedlen, Fenton, Mich., warns consumers about company websites that look legitimate. He advises Googling “Whois” to find out when the website was created. “Anyone can put together a professional-looking website,” he says. “There are a lot of people who really want to work and might respond to an ad that they would have thought twice about a year ago.”
Some Better Business Bureau tips for those looking for jobs online:
Big promises equal small returns: “Get rich quick — without even leaving your home!” It may be tempting to suspend disbelief, but the only person who will be earning money without leaving their home is the person you send a check to.
Look out for spelling errors: The bureau says most online fraud is perpetrated by scammers located outside the U.S. whose first language usually isn’t English. Their request could be awkwardly phrased or have spelling errors.
Don’t give your personal details: Social security numbers and bank account details are the easiest ways for a scammer to steal your identity. There’s no reason a prospective employer would want this kind of detail sent online.
Never hand over any money: It’s the oldest trick in the book, a reputable job agency would not ask you for money and — as with all online scams — never wire money by Western Union or MoneyGram. It’s not traceable and you won’t see it again.