Employment scams are nothing new, but they still plague job seekers. In 2018, employment scams were the riskiest, according to the BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report (BBB.org/RiskReport). As technology changes, so do scammers’ tactics. In this new twist on a long-time scam, con artists use text messages and Google Hangouts to convince people to hand over money in exchange for a job that doesn’t exist.
How the Scam Works
You post a resume or apply to a job online. Before long, you are contacted via text message by someone claiming to have seen your resume. The representative explains that you would be a great fit for their position and may claim to represent a real business with a good reputation. They ask you to contact them for an interview via Google Hangouts or another video chat service.
After talking, you are immediately offered a job with excellent pay. This pattern is a change from the past, when scammers typically emailed targets and made a job offer without an interview.
Your new “job” has some unusual requests, however. The interviewer may send you funds to deposit into your bank account, which you’ll use to purchase supplies for your new job. Or they require your banking information under the guise of setting up direct deposit. They also may send you surplus funds in a bad check, ask you to deposit it and wire some funds back to the company. Job scams take many forms. See BBB.org/EmploymentScam for more variations.
If you question the company’s methods, you’ll likely be met with a defensive response. But don’t give in to the pressure and follow the demands. The job isn’t real!
How to Protect Yourself from Employment Scams
- Double check the job posting. If a person claims to represent a reputable company, visit the official website and look for the job posting before agreeing to an interview. If you can’t find it, it’s probably a scam.
- Be wary of unusual procedures. No real company would ask you to pay money to receive a job offer, nor would they send you a check before you’ve completed any work or overpay you for supplies and ask you send back part of the money.
- Look out for generic job offers. Jobs that are very general, for example, “customer service representative,” are the most likely to be scams. If you find the same job description for different companies posted on many websites, that could be a red flag, too.
For More Information
If you’ve been the victim of an employment scam, help others spot fraudsters by reporting your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker.