Thursday, February 12, 2009, AM | Leave Comment
As unemployment reaches levels not seen in decades, job and business-opportunity scams are flourishing. Consumer-protection, law-enforcement groups and better business bureaus are reporting a growing number of phony job-recruitment and work-at-home schemes targeting desperate Americans looking for a way to pay the bills.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the consumer-protection agency received nearly 6,000 complaints against employment agencies and job-counseling services in 2007. The numbers of complaints are almost certain to rise along with the unemployment figures.
Millions of people are looking for jobs. And there are many reputable and good legitimate employers looking to hire them. But, at the same time, there are also many dishonest, unethical and deceptive organizations looking to track down these same people – but not to provide jobs.
Instead, these organizations are trying to cheat and steal from these people with some creative, deceptive and all too appealing employment scams. Phony executive-search firms are demanding thousands of dollars in upfront fees from corporate job candidates, who wind up with nothing but headaches.
Let’s review what to beware (reject) of as well as what safe resources (accept) you can use to find a legitimate and rewarding job.
You are solicited and told that you can earn $500, $1,000, even $5,000 a month, working from the comfort of your home. Work-at-home scams are far and away the most widespread. In most cases, the ads are vague, emotional, lack detail, exaggerate and appear amateur.
There are two kinds of employment agencies:
Posing as private employment agencies, scammers offer to, and even guarantee, they will get you a job. The jobs are often civil service, government and postal jobs. They are looking for two things from you – money or personal information. You will be asked to pay an “advance placement fee” or provide personal information such as Social Security number, bank accounts and credit card accounts.
There are employment agencies that have been in business for years making money by charging job seekers to help them find a job. Stay away from them. There are plenty of reputable and effective employment agencies that make their money from the employers they service.
Beware the crooks and scammers in the francise industry. They advertise in newspapers, magazines, posted signs and on the Internet. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell legitimate from scam.
- Never Send Money or Divulge Personal Information.
- Know What is Being Offered.
- Check Them Out.
- Too Good to Be True, usually is.
- Government Agencies
- Reputable Private Employment Agencies
- Known Employers
- Online Job Postings
In a Nutshell
- There are actually very few legitimate employers providing real work-at-home opportunities – and none of them require up-front fees or investments by you.
- There are many excellent franchise opportunities.
- Job seekers should protect themselves by withholding some personal information on résumés posted on Internet job boards.
- They should never supply Social Security numbers or bank-account numbers upfront or over the phone.
- Be wary of job and business opportunities that promise hefty rewards with little effort, consumer-protection officials say.
- Always educate yourself. Research and knowledge are the best remedies to avoid any kind of scams.