A savvy job seeker always checks out a business before going on an interview. But what happens when that company’s name is just a cover for a scam? Connecticut Better Business Bureau warns that a growing number of scammers are indeed stealing the names of legitimate businesses and organizations to trick job seekers into divulging personal information and cheat them out of money.
In one recent example, scammers posted a help wanted ad on Craigslist.org for an opportunity using the name of the real, Virginia-based “Association of Corporate Travel Executives.” When job hunters responded to the ad, imposters sent them checks to deposit. Consumers were told keep a portion of the check as their pay and to wire the rest to a third party via Western Union. Of course, the checks eventually bounced, and victims lost their money.
In a variation, scammers stole the name of a BBB-accredited, Ohio-based business, FBN Construction LLC. Scammers sent emails to local consumers promoting a “job opportunity” at the company, and encouraging applicants to fill out an online form on a fake website. The form asked for personal information, leaving job seekers vulnerable to identity theft.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau says employment-seekers can protect themselves by following a few rules of thumb:
Watch the wording — Scam job postings are often rife with grammatical errors, misspellings and lots of exclamation marks. Ads promoting jobs with generic titles, such as admin assistant or customer service rep, and containing the phrases “Teleworking OK,” “Immediate Start” and “No Experience Needed” are popular in scam ads.
Search for it — If a job looks suspicious, search for it on Google. If the exact same job posting comes up in many other cities, it is likely a scam.
Keep it to yourself — Be very cautious of any job that asks you to share personal information or hand over money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or paying for training.
Verify with the company — Check out the business’ website to make sure the opening is posted there. If you are still skeptical, call the business to verify the opening.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.