With high unemployment numbers across the country and people seek jobs following the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s more important than ever to be on the lookout for employment scams. Ranked the number one riskiest scam with a median loss of $1,500 in 2019, scammers continue to use fake job postings and offers to take advantage of those seeking employment. If looking for a job, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) urges applicants to be cautious and use the information provided below to spot these scams.

“Unfortunately scammers take advantage of every situation they can, including a global pandemic like coronavirus, to gather personal information and money from victims,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, President and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “As economies begin reopening across the country, and world, it’s important for job seekers to investigate a position fully before providing any personal or banking information.”

How the scam works: A job offer comes with high pay, options to work remotely, and flexible hours. To get the job, a candidate must complete forms that require personal and/or sensitive information and may be required to “purchase equipment” with part of the proceeds of what turns out to be a fake check.

How to spot this scam: 

Some positions are more likely to be scams. In the past, “work-from-home” with the promise of a high salary was a common red flag, but the current pandemic has made it trickier to identify scam posts. Scammers know positions that do not require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants and use these otherwise legitimate titles in fake job listings. Be on the lookout for too good to be true offers and ask what the post-COVID working arrangements will be.

Different procedures should raise suspicion. Be skeptical of on-the-spot job offers, positions that do not require an interview, and listings that seem too good to be true such as over payment. Also be cautious of companies promising great opportunities or large incomes as long as you pay for coaching, training, or certifications. 

Government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely. The U.S. federal governments and the U.S. Postal Service never charge for information about jobs or applications for jobs. Be wary of any offer to give you special access or guarantee you a job for a fee – if you are paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam. Also, try and identify which state and federal departments have enacted a hiring freeze due to the pandemic. That will help weed out the real job postings from the fake ones.

Get all details and contracts in writing. A legitimate recruiter will provide you with a complete contract for their services with cost, what you get, who pays (you or the employer), and what happens if you do not find a job.

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker. For additional information on employment scams, visit bbb.org.



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