Struggling Economy Makes Environment Ripe For Job Scammers

If you are among the many Americans desperately looking for work, then you also might be among the growing number of victims who have fallen prey to job scams.

Jobs that promise "easy money," "flexible work from home hours," or advertise "no experience necessary" are just some of the ways con artists posing as fake employers get you on the hook to either steal your identity or make a quick buck.

A recent AOL jobs survey found that one in 33 people has personally been a victim of a job scam, such as a fake opportunity for employment where the job seeker is asked to pay a fee in advance, and one in nine people report knowing someone who has been scammed.

Repeatedly scammed

Bethany Mooradian, author of "I Got Scammed So You Don't Have To," has been scammed so many times that she has made it her life's work to help others avoid scams while on the hunt for employment.

"I was in college the first time I got scammed," Mooradian says. Looking for extra cash, she sent in $19.95 to join an envelope stuffing business. "All I got back after I sent in the check was a letter stating that I needed to run an ad for other people to join and pay their $19.95."

This classic pyramid scheme has evolved and now focuses on getting people to work from home and post online ads. Bethany said that she never did anything about it, because everything was done through the mail and she had "no idea who was behind it," much less whom to file a complaint with.

Mooradian's second duping came in a completely different guise, but still managed to bilk her out of some money. She answered an ad for a home caretaker position and was told that the couple was from overseas and that she would have to pay $75 upfront for them to run her background check. This all sounded reasonable to Bethany so she sent the money, via money order, as specified. "I actually got suspicious after I sent the money and drove by the address where they said they lived, but it didn't exist."

Scams are more sophisticated

You would think that being scammed once would preclude you from being scammed ever again, but that's not often the case. Today's con artists have more complex and developed schemes than ever before. The Internet also protects scammers' identities and gives them a broad reach.

Another problem is that when people do get scammed, they feel embarrassed and don't know who to ask for help.

Mooradian says that the upshot to being scammed is that it has really opened her eyes into determining what kinds of jobs are legitimate. "The best advice I could give," she says, "would be to educate yourself on how to research companies and to take any job posting or e-mail with a grain of salt. Assume it's a scam until you prove otherwise."

How to avoid scams

Being unemployed, is frustrating and a blow to your ego, but there are ways to protect yourself ahead of time, so that you do not miss any red flags about jobs that give you false hope.

Jeremy Miller, director of operations for Kroll Fraud Solutions, recommends following these tips to ensure that your next job hunt is for a legitimate, and not bogus, job.

1. Proceed cautiously with career websites.

It pays to do your research and make sure that the website you are using is credible. Just remember that no one can guarantee what happens to your resume after it has been accessed or downloaded by a potential employer or recruiter.

2. Learn how to spot bogus job ads.

You might be applying for a fake job if the ad:

  1. Offers considerable pay with few duties.
  2. Promises wages in cash.
  3. Contains no physical address for the company or contact person.
  4. Requires you to open a bank account or dispense personal information upfront.

3. Think before you post!

"What many people do not realize is that the more information you reveal online, the greater your chances of having that information accessed by the wrong person," Miller says. He recommends carefully considering what information you post on your profile page.

"If you wouldn't give out your personal information to a stranger on the street, then you may not want to post it online either."

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You tell ll about the scams and bad things, why not put good information on the site. what are the legimate job sites on line?

February 05 2011 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have no idea whay someone would ant to give out personal information on the internet. But if you want to contact me;
Jim Masson
4528 Matthew St.
Jackson, NY 10846

SS# 124-56-4786
DOB 4/21/63

February 05 2011 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment

Jim, I just tried to set up a credit card in your name. Apparently it didn't work. Can you give me your personal information again, including your bank account number? Thanks!

February 05 2011 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone who falls for this need a lobotamy. I'll be the first to admit many years ago back in the late 80's (around 19 or 20 years old)I fell for the work at home scam typing letters for companies. You had to send 8 stamped blank envelopes and pay I think it was $20.00. I received some stupid flyer and was furious. Obviously, the stamped envelopes for was there personal use not including they took my 20 bucks! I reported them immediately and went straight to the attorney general's office as well. I don't know what happened to them, but I got my 20.00 back. Point is I CANNOT believe how dumb the author is. Once was enough for me and I took care of it although it took me close to a year. One time is enough for me.

February 05 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

why did they use a black person for the picture we all know they are not the ones looking for jobs

February 05 2011 at 2:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so. is there a legit work at home money making program? I know and iam pretty sure that every body else knows that there are a lot of scams out there. But how about that one legit program? Not those hundreds but that one that some one has tried or is currently working with and making money. again not the ones that promise over night riches,cars,pay a house in a year. does any body out there have such a program? please let me know. thanks in advance.

February 04 2011 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just replied to an ad and stopped and cancelled when it asked for my credit score? I think there are a lot of scams out there and it's very discouraging when you are looking for work.

February 04 2011 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lynn's comment

I am so glad I looked at this site because I sent out 13 resumes for work the other day and only got two responses and both asked for a credit report and both gave a company that they use and even had the link to click on and recommended to use it now! I have never heard of any employer doing that and did not participate with the request. They did not give a name of a company but did give a contact name. Also, they both made it sound like I was just what they were looking for in an employee for the position. Then the one asked for a contact number for me and that information was on the resume I had sent them. It is so frustrating, when all I really want to do is get a job and work! I have ever had such a hard time in my life to find a job and now I have to be more aware of scammers and of identity theft at every turn...I have already had that happen 3 times. I hope this helps others to use wisdom.

February 05 2011 at 12:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I work for a newspaper and a lot of scam ads are looking for nannies. They only provide an e-mail address, and pay the ads with stolen credit cards. Please beware when answering ads for a nanny.

February 04 2011 at 10:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been scammed only once and very nearly scammed more times than I can count! That was over 3 years ago. Now before I respond to any "opportunity" I do a Google search first with the name of the company + "scam" or "fraud" in the search field.

What appears is usually any posting involving the company from sites that track employment scams. It only takes a minute and its worth your time if you're considering spending even $20.00!

February 04 2011 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know why people share their personal information so freely online. Be it with Monster (for jobs) or simple Facebook. Keep personal information personal because you never know who's eyes are reading. I like the tips on the website Save Creatively. Not only smart ideas but helpful suggestions that are practical for smart spending while you look for work.

February 04 2011 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joe bogues

she has been scammed so many times that.... she is selling you a book about getting scammed ? I guess she thinks there are dumber people than herself out there. And she's probably right !

January 30 2011 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joe bogues's comment

She's not asking you to buy her book. Plugging a book online is not a scam. I have a Facebook page with artists and writers who plug their current books or projects. You sound like you're clueless about the internet being used as a marketing tool. Facebook is one of many tools profesionals use to promote the sales of their products.

February 04 2011 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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