People who are looking for work utilize the internet and social media as critical job search tools. Meanwhile, job scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at taking advantage of our reliance on technology, often by posing as real employers. Their most vulnerable prey: recent college graduates as they conduct a first job search; individuals with gaps in work history, a criminal history, or a disability; and retirees looking to supplement their income who may not be familiar with current technology.
As a career counselor, I have had many clients excitedly tell me about the amazing job offer they got over the phone - if they just send in money to pay for their training costs, or give their bank account information so that their paychecks can be deposited. It is no easy feat convincing a person who has no income and the rent due that they are being preyed upon. Preparing job seekers in advance for the red flags to look for before they start their job search is a good strategy to prevent them from being scammed. If the seed has been planted, people may be more open to reporting a scam, or at least to considering that the job that sounds “too good to be true” may be just a scam.
Career counselors should coach people to be wary when:
Proactive Avoidance of Scams
A career counselors can assist job seekers when they’re unsure about a job solicitation. First and always, check out the company online. Search the company on the internet and the word “scam” and see if others have reported being scammed by the so-called company. A legitimate company is likely to have a webpage; a company with no internet presence should be suspect. Share information about a scam with other counselors. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have a repository of reported scammers that can be checked when a job is suspicious. The FTC recommends victims of a scam file a complaint with them. This will prevent others from being scammed and make officials aware of the problem. Information can be found at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams
Job scams can result in identity theft, loss of confidence, legal problems, and loss of money. Being scammed can add tremendously to the stress of unemployment. As career counselors, we need to make people aware of the signs of a job scam, and of how to avoid being the victim of one.
Sandi Sibilio, MS, SHRM-CP, CWDP, Director of Career Development Services at Fellowship Place, a non-profit mental health agency, has over 15 years of experience helping individuals to reach their career goals. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her at www.linkedin.com/in/sandi-sibilio