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Guide to Avoiding Online Scam Jobs

By Susan P. Joyce

Job search scams look very appealing, and even smart people "fall" for them. The result can be loss of the money you do have, trouble with the IRS or other law enforcement agency, and identity theft when your SSN is provided to the fake "employer." Trust AFTER you verify!

Scam Job Sources

Unfortunately, safe online job hunting requires attention and care. The scam jobs are everywhere. Online scam jobs come to you two ways:

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1. Emailed scam jobs

You will find these job scams in e-mail sent to you by people you don't know, by people you seem to be someone you do know, and by people pretending to be from trusted websites you know and perhaps have used.

2. Scam jobs on websites

You will also find scam jobs posted on Websites you know and trust, on Websites you think you know, and on websites you have never heard of.

Purpose of the Scams

The goals of these scams are to make money for the scammers through:

  • Stealing money from your bank accounts.
  • Stealing your identity so they can scam banks, merchants, and others while ruining your credit rating.
  • Sending spam email to you and your contacts.
  • Selling the information they collect from you to spammers and identity thieves.
  • Getting access to your bank account so they can take money out of it.
  • Your cooperation in an illegal activity for their benefit, like receiving and then re-shipping stolen property.
  • Having you to send/transfer your money to them, which also may involve you in illegal activity as well as taking a big chunk of money from you.

These are the general categories of scams. New scams do pop up all the time, so this is not, unfortunately, a complete list.

For More Information

Good, reliable information about job search scams is also available here:

As the wise old police sergeant from Hill Street Blues warned at the start of each shift, "Be careful out there!"

About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 2012, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and onGoogle+.