Avoid scams that target job hunters

Job hunter at job fairWith the unemployment rate at more than 9%, many people are still looking for jobs. Job hunters are constantly bombarded with ads on web sites or by e-mail. Before checking out any job offer or signing a contract, keep these tips offered by the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer advocacy organizations, in mind.

Jobs that ask you to pay
If a job ad asks you to pay an upfront fee, that's usually not a good sign. Some ads also ask consumers to pay to receive a list of jobs that are available. Save your money -- often this kind of information can be found for free.

Work-at-home jobs
Beware of ads that offer too-good-to-be-true job opportunities. They may sound enticing because they advertise that you'll make a lot of money working from home. Most of these offers are scams. Make sure to look up the company and learn about its history before accepting an offer.

Spam e-mails promoting job offers
Some of those e-mails may ask you to click on links to get more information about a particular job. Those links, however, may actually infect your computer with malware, putting your personal and sensitive information at risk.

Job placement firms
Be leery of companies that promise to find you a job if you sign up with them. Some companies charge outrageous fees, misrepresent services they offer or list fictitious or outdated job offerings.

Requests for personal information
Some scam artists will say they need your Social Security number to run a background or credit check before hiring you. Others may direct you to a web site to pull your own credit report, which is really just an attempt to steal bank or credit card information. Before agreeing to do anything, make sure you've researched the company thoroughly.
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