Job search scams look very appealing, and even smart people "fall" for them.
The best strategy is to keep your guard up at all times, whether viewing a job posting on a job board, reading an email message, or checking out a social media post.
If you aren't careful, you will be scammed.
The result can be loss of money, trouble with the IRS or other law enforcement agency, and/or identity theft when your SSN and other very sensitive personal informatIon (like your bank account number) is provided to the fake "employer."
Obviously, not every job is fake, but before you apply, reply, or respond --
Trust AFTER you verify!
When you are approached with a job opportunity, the best defense against job scams is conducting research before you respond with your resume or provide any personal information.
If the employer or the staffing agency name is not in the job posting or email, ask for it before you apply. You don't want to waste your time applying for a fake job. Then...
Read the Job Scams Self-Defense Sniff Test for a thorough process to verify that a job opportunity is real.
Unfortunately, safe online job hunting requires attention and care. The scam jobs are everywhere. When someone emails you these opportunities or sends them through social media, hit the delete key.
Many legitimate work-from-home jobs definitely exist, but you won't usually find them in email sent to you by a stranger or a message from a stranger through Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social network.
The work may involve stuffing envelopes, doing data entry on your home computer, taking surveys, or thousands of other variations, but they come to you, eager to hire you to work for them. And, they provide very little information about their company, which may be in another country.
The purpose, typically, is to collect information and/or money from you.
[MORE: Driver's License Job Scam.]
For some unknown reason, this employer cannot effectively use the world banking system. They need access to your personal bank account to manage the issue, and they will pay you handsomely for that access. Unfortunately, the only direction the money goes is out of your account and into their account where you cannot recover it.
If someone you don't really know wants you to "wire transfer" money to or for them, KNOW that this is a scam, and DO NOT PARTICIPATE!
Again, very little information about their company, which may be in another country, is provided.
Again, an employer which cannot use the world's package processing system without your help. They need you to accept shipments which you re-package and re-ship to their customers, typically in another country.
Unfortunately, the goods in the shipment to you are usually purchased with stolen credit cards. So, when law enforcement tracks down those "stolen goods," guess who they find? YOU!
[MORE: Reshipper and Payment Rep Scam Jobs.]
It's a great job, but you must first invest in inventory (to assemble or to sell), training in their process, and/or equipment needed to do the job. No!
If they want your credit card information or access to your bank account, avoid the "opportunity."
In the USA, these undisclosed jobs are purportedly for the US Federal Government or the US Post Office, and -- for a fee -- these people will give you access to those jobs. NO!
Federal and Postal Services jobs are posted on their websites where you can find them, for free.
The main goals of these scams are to collect information from you which the scammers will use and/or sell.
These are the general categories of scams. New scams do pop up all the time, so this is not, unfortunately, a complete list.
Unfortunately, best practice is to be skeptical of anyone you don't know (and probably some people you do know). As the wise old police sergeant from Hill Street Blues warned at the start of each shift, "Be careful out there!"
Good, reliable information about job search scams is also available here:
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 recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, 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 Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.