A San Antonio man recently applied to several jobs using CareerBuilder when he was contacted by what he felt was a legitimate company. They told him he immediately met all the qualifications for a remote, data-entry position and asked to interview using a third-party app. After a brief interview, they sent him a business check to deposit so he may quickly buy the equipment necessary and await further instruction. The total: $3,710. The man purchased a laptop and office equipment using the funds. But after several days, his bank alerted him the initial check was no good. He also lost contact with the alleged employer.
With promises of work-from-home or high pay, job scams like these and the “secret shopper” aren’t new. But as more job seekers use employment sites to research their next opportunity, the likelihood grows that more will be conned.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) has seen a steady increase in the number of reported employment scams since the start of the year. In 2018, there were over 4,632 cases of employment scams reported to BBB. So far this year, BBB has received 406 cases which is on trend to surpass last year.
What advice does BBB have for job seekers using a career site or app?
Research the business.
Stop. Visit the company’s website to find out if the company is really hiring. If the caller claims to be from a recruiting agency, hang up and call that agency’s customer support line directly. If nobody answers, visit BBB.org and look that company up.
Don’t pay upfront fees.
No legitimate job offer will require out of pocket expenses from a potential employee for background checks, credit reports or administrative fees before an interview. Never give credit card or social security numbers.
After you are “hired,” the company may charge you upfront for “training.” You may need to provide your personal and banking information to set up direct deposit. You may be “accidentally” overpaid with a fake check and asked to deposit the check and wire back the difference. Or, you may need to buy expensive equipment and supplies to work at home. Watch for these red flags.
Be wary of the “perfect offer.”
Job seekers should be cautious of any posting advertising extremely high pay for short hours or minimal required experience.
REMEMBER: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
To report a job scam, go to our BBB Scam Tracker page at BBB.org/scamtracker.