Scammers are always exploiting whatever is timely, whether it is holiday shopping scams, income tax filing scams or charitable donation scams following a natural disaster. With the partial government shutdown leaving many furloughed workers looking for temporary employment, many are turning to online job advertisements to get jobs to tide them over until they go back to their full-time government jobs. Unfortunately, there are a lot of job advertisement scams. Merely because a company posting an online job advertisement may appear to be one that you are familiar with doesn’t mean that the advertisement to which you may be responding was placed by the actual company. Always check with the actual company by phone to confirm any job openings and advertisements. Even if a company is listed by a legitimate online employment agency does not mean that the company advertising online with them is legitimate. Many of the scammers posing as potential employers or employment services will ask for upfront application fees which when paid by the job applicant leave the victim of the scam without a job as well as being cheated out of their money. Scammers also will ask for your Social Security number and bank account information so that they can directly deposit your salary check into your bank account, however, they are really seeking your Social Security number to make you a victim of identity theft and your bank account number so they can drain your account.
In another employment scam, furloughed workers are contacted through their email with an extremely attractive job offer. When the furloughed worker accepts, the scammer sends an official appearing check to the worker who is told to deposit the check into his or her bank account. The check is actually made out in an amount more than what was agreed to be paid to the worker who is instructed to wire the extra funds back to the company. Of course, the check is counterfeit and ultimately bounces, however, the money that the scammed student wires to the scammer from his or her bank account is lost forever.
Always independently check out whether the company with which you are dealing is a legitimate company. The Better Business Bureau is a good place to start. You also can also just Google the company’s name with the word “scam” next to it for further inquiry. Even if the company checks out as legitimate, you should contact them directly to confirm that any job opening being advertised is legitimate and not just a scammer posing as the legitimate company. Also, never pay up front fees to employment companies even if they promise a “guaranteed” refund. Finally and most importantly, never give your Social Security number and bank account number to any company you have only had contact with online. You should also be careful about the personal information that you include on your resume to make sure that it does not contribute to possible identity theft.
It is always an indication that you are involved with a scam is when you receive a check for more than what is owed you and you are asked to wire the difference back to the sender. This is the basis of many scams including mystery shopper scams. Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on your bank giving you provisional credit which is given after a few days, but which will be rescinded once a check bounces and never accept a check for more than what is owed with the intention to send back the rest.
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