In an uncertain economy, many people are looking for additional means of income. Scam artists are no exception and are actively looking to capitalize on people who have lost their jobs or trying to stay a little bit ahead.
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Work-at-home scams. From craigslist to the classifieds, listings for work at home opportunities abound. Keep a healthy skepticism of any offer that sounds too good to be true – because odds are it is a losing proposition. Not only are job seekers often required to front the cost for the necessary training, supplies or equipment to perform the job, making up for these expenses may require many hours of work with no pay. Sometimes the “employer” will pay the victim by means of a counterfeit check or stolen bank account and direct the victim to wire them money for the purchase of home office furniture, supplies, or some other employment-related purpose. The checks are later found to be fraudulent or banks accounts stolen, often after the wire transfer has taken place.
Bogus placement firms. Even if you don't have much money coming in, it can be tempting to hire a professional to help connect you with an employer seeking someone with your skills and experience. While there are many legitimate placement firms, some misrepresent their services, promote ads for jobs that don’t exist, or charge advance and excessive fees for information that is free or work that does not produce results. Watch out for firms that guarantee employment, are reluctant to answer your questions or use high-pressure sales tactics to get your business or try to rush you into signing a contract before you have read it carefully understand what you are agreeing too.
Premature credit checks. Employers used to be allowed to check a potential employee’s credit history before they hire them to gauge their financial reliability. However, a law passed in 2010 made it so most employers cannot look at a credit report when making employment decisions. Still, identity thieves take advantage of this once common practice by posting fake help wanted ads that lure applicants into offering sensitive personal information. If an employer requests that you send them your social security or bank account number or a copy of your credit report before you have even been interviewed, chances are they are more interested in your financial information than they are your resume.
More information about credit reports and protecting sensitive information is available on this site.
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