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Job Scammers On the Rise

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 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.


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    • The PSAT, not the SAT, is the test everyone shluod be concerned about. It’s full name is PSAT/NMSQT — that last part means “National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.” Though their numbers seem to be decreasing, there are still many colleges, among them Baylor, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and U of Houston, which *automatically* give out full-ride four-year scholarships to National Merit Finalists. All you have to do to become one is score high enough on the official PSAT, the one you take your junior year of high school, and submit some paperwork. Oh, and your Verbal score counts twice, Math only once.My IQ is apparently at or higher than two SDs above the white norm, so though my brain was atrophied from K-8 mindless mush (e.g. “gifted” programs where we got to basically just screw around all day), I proved a quick study when I realized the importance of the PSAT Verbal. I missed two questions and got a 740 (this was prior to recentering). That plus my OK math score got me the NM Finalist distinction and a flood of letters from colleges offering scholarships.To those who say SAT prep doesn’t work — I disagree. I took a practice PSAT sophomore year without studying and got something like an 1100 (I don’t remember). By using the Princeton Review study guides, the 10 SATs practice tests, and by memorizing over a hundred dictionary definitions of vocabulary words, I raised my Verbal score to a nearly perfect one.If you need further proof, how’s this — through studying the Princeton Review’s PSAT Math section and their Math Smart book, I raised my Math score from 540 on the PSAT to 680 on the SAT a year later. And please know at that time I believed in the false dichotomy between math and humanities and I in no way considered myself a “math person.” Of course the caveats are that I was born with a good brain and I was extremely motivated at the time. However, at the same time I had neglected my brain for many years, had no intellectual curiosity, and scorned Math.There is absolutely no way I could have become a National Merit Finalist if I hadn’t studied for the PSAT. So, for those who are both smart enough (probably at least 115 IQ) and motivated enough, PSAT prep can be a wise investment. I am really quite surprised people would say otherwise.

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    • Please do not consider Amazon Mturk as a reputable work at home business. I can’t believe it, but I have apparently been scammed by Amazon. I worked for them slightly over a month and was “saving” my money to withdraw when I had $200 – big mistake. After I got 3/4 of the way there, they have closed my account for policy violations but won’t explain why. I worked in very good faith to earn the money – for HOURS. I really believe there is some kind of misunderstanding and no wrongdoing on my part that caused the closure but despite my repeated attempts, I can get no one to investigate and explain to me why the sudden closure. I had great work records, at least until the day they closed the account.

      While the pay was low, I actually enjoyed the work and I felt like it gave me the opportunity to earn some extra cash but really this has been a nightmare for me. I would not want anyone else to go through this experience. I have never felt “violated” before, but this has got me devastated.

      I am a 48 year old mother of two children who was looking to work from home. I have a masters degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. I do not understand how this happened to me.

    • My spouse has been hit with this twice since being laid off in 2008. Responding to job ads posted on the internet has become just as much “buyer beware” as going in for a used car. It’s pathetic.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.