Keeping Your Online Job Search Safe

With all the scams and identity theft being reported these days, it's no wonder you might be cautious of job searching online. Luckily there are several ways to locate a job online safely and securely and keep your bank account intact.

First, make yourself aware of the most common scams surrounding the online job industry. Second, be aware of indications that a job might be fraudulent. Last but not least, know who to reference when you need help determining a job or employer's legitimacy.

Beware: Fraudulent Jobs

The most common scams involving online job searching are obvious to most people. Check-cashing scams involve requests to "process payments," usually for international companies that claim they can't process their client's payments themselves. These are often accompanied by legitimate looking contracts, false documents bearing company letterhead and even false letters of credit, payment schedules and bank drafts.

Once the fraudulent employer has obtained the trust of their "employee," they will mail checks, certified checks or money orders to the victim's home address, requesting them to cash them and forward the money back (usually via Western Union). At this point the scam is complete and the victim will later find out from their bank that the check, certified check or money order was fraudulent. The victims are then made liable for the lost money and can even be charged with forgery, presenting a false document or money laundering.

Re-shipping scams are similar to popular check-cashing scams, but they involve receiving and reshipping packages for the fraudulent employer. Victims receive packages and are asked to repackage and reship the goods to another address. The packages usually contain stolen or unpaid goods that are then tracked to the victim's address. This scam often results in the innocent victim being arrested for receiving stolen property and can take years to sort out in the courts.

Signs of a Scam

When searching for a job online there are several things you should look out for. Here are just a few:

  • As a job seeker the best prevention is to avoid being temped by offers that appear to be "too good to be true."

  • Be cautious of any employer offering employment without an interview, either by phone or in person. No legitimate employer will hire you without first conducting an interview.

  • Thoroughly investigate any employer who requires a fee before you can start working for them. Rarely will you find a legitimate employer requesting a fee... they should be paying you!

  • Do not provide your Social Security number or any other sensitive information unless you are confident that the employer requesting the information is legitimate.

  • Avoid vague offers, as these are often scams. If the employer is not willing to specifically describe the position, you probably don't want it.

What You Can Do

Even armed with this knowledge, you may still find yourself questioning a job you found online. Luckily there are still options available to you.

If the job was found on you can contact the Site Integrity and Compliance department for assistance in verifying the employer's legitimacy. This can be done by e-mailing or by calling the customer service number listed on the Web site. Our dedicated Site Integrity team is committed to fraud detection and prevention to protect users from any type of deceitful job postings.

Other Web sites, like the Better Business Bureau, help by allowing you to search their database of customer inquiries and complaints about a certain company. Not surprisingly, searches on the popular search engines also offer pertinent information when trying to determine the legitimacy of an offer.

For additional information on these scams and more please click here.

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

Copyright 2006

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