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Money August 2012

Dollar Sense

Beware Fake Job Offers: Advice from the Better Business Bureau

By Teresa Ambord

If you are tempted to respond, keep these points in mind: in this economy employers everywhere are struggling, so does it make sense that any company, anywhere would offer high pay for little work, to people without exceptional skills?

In a tough economy, people get creative. Unfortunately some of that creativity takes the form of thievery. The worst kind of scoundrel is someone who takes advantage of someone else’s desperation. That’s why the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning: do not fall for employment scams. At a minimum you could lose money, and more likely, your identity.

Here are several red flags the BBB lists, to help you beware of the latest round of employment related scams.

  • Red flag: A “job offer” includes pay that seems too good to be true. Included with the bogus offer may be one or more of these terms: no experience necessary, work only a few hours a week, and work from your own home. Occasionally the pay may seem fairly normal for the position, but don’t assume it is legitimate if other red flags exist.

Here are two such offers that turned up in my inbox, unsolicited:

1.Take Home $15-$75 Per Hour - No Experience Needed! Earn money from big companies like Walmart, Toys R Us, Netflix, Dish Network, USA Today & more! Earn as much as $4500.

2.Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make extra money online.) Start Getting PAID For Your Opinions Today! Learn more. <SSS (Link deleted for reader protection) One Single Dad Earns $3000+ Per Month Just Taking Surveys Online! The best part is that ANYONE can take paid surveys!

  • Red flag: The “employer” asks you to pay money up front. They may say the money is for a background check, training, or a job placement company, or something else. The BBB warns it is rare that a legitimate employer would ask potential workers to pay fees to get a job.
  • Red flag: The company requires you to provide a credit report, obtained through a website they recommend. It is true that more and more employers will check the credit reports of applicants to get an idea of your reliability. But chances are the employer will pay the cost or ask you to supply a report from one of the three major credit bureaus, which you can get for free once a year. If you are steered to a website of the “employer’s” choice, there’s a good chance it’s a trap. The Better Business Bureau recently shut down a scam of this nature. The “job offer” directed applicants to supply a credit report, then told them they could get one fast and free from a website they recommend. Applicants who clicked on the link to that website were directed to enter sensitive financial information that can be used to steal their assets and their identity. And of course, there were no jobs.
  • Red flag: A job offer is full of spelling and/or grammar errors. Why? Because many scams originate outside of the United States, where English is not the primary language.
  • Red flag: A potential employer quickly asks for sensitive information, like your Social Security number, bank account number, birth date, etc. Unless you have confirmed that the company is legitimate and you have a bona fide job offer, do not reveal sensitive information. Instead, contact your local BBB to check out the company.
  • Red flag: The job requires you to wire money somewhere, by MoneyGram, Western Union, or some other way. Or, you are required to receive goods, such as luxury items or electronics. This “employer” may be part of a theft ring. If you are tempted to take a chance, you should know anyone who participates may be legally liable.

Here is another “job offer” that recently landed in my inbox. The sender was not known to me, yet he spoke casually, addressing me as though we were friends. This is a common ploy with e-mail scams. The perpetrators seem to hope that we will assume the message is either from a friend, or that the message was meant for someone else, was misdirected, and lucky us! We are the accidental recipients of great information!

Note that this real scam incorporates a few of the red flags listed above. Poor grammar/spelling, high pay, no experience (“anyone with an Internet connection”), and work from home. You’ll notice that in the first line, the offer implies that it is for college professors, yet anyone can do it, which in itself is odd.

Hey there, so I was bored out of my mind and started reading on PBS's hometown career section late last friday and became obsessed with this new self-employed opportunity that helps college professors constantly make around $3000/week+ & we did not really trust it at the beginning but we just had to try something and thank god I did because I've actually earned $312.78 on my 2nd day actually trying. Its actually not hard I have already gotten paid with direct deposit... it is the most amazing thing thats happened to me this year.

Heres the link.. (deleted for reader protection) I think anybody that has internet could attempt the job which is why I'm sending this to all our old freinds and fam.. I'd like you to begin and make lots of income yourself.. you can also send this link with every body you know that needs to make more cash so that we can all beat the record unemployment.

If you are tempted to respond, keep these points in mind: in this economy employers everywhere are struggling, so does it make sense that any company, anywhere would offer high pay for little work, to people without exceptional skills? Also, even minimum wage jobs have applicants lining up to be considered. If these high pay/no experience job offers were legitimate, there would be no need to advertise, right? People would be beating down their doors for the opportunities.

A recent poll asked respondents if they would be willing to give up chocolate forever in exchange for the ability to work from home. A surprising 29% said yes! So even people who are not financially struggling might bite at a “job offer” that allows them the chance to earn a living or extra money without leaving the house. Thieves know these things, and they pack as many hooks into a scam as they can. Don’t let the con artists win.

The best policy is to ignore the offer. But if you are in doubt, check with, or your local BBB office.


Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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