Beware of bogus employment scams
Unemployed workers in Washington and the rest of the country have
become targets for crooks posing as employers making bogus job offers.
Here are some of the most common threats targeting unemployed workers:
BOGUS WORK-AT-HOME SCHEMES
Cons are taking advantage of the growing number of jobless workers
by placing ads online and in local newspaper classifieds offering the
chance to earn extra income by working at home. Recent reports include
individuals who applied for jobs as mystery shoppers, only to be duped
into sending money by wire transfer. Another job-seeker paid to
receive software to process medical bills for doctors, only to learn
there were no job leads and the software was virtually worthless. Yet
another victim wired money to purchase vending machines after
responding to a newspaper ad, but no machines were delivered.
A Kirkland woman, while trying to help her
husband find work, received an innocent-looking e-mail message that
included a link to a website that supposedly contained jobs
announcements for engineers. When she clicked on the link, the site
downloaded malicious software. The software blocked her ability to
download updates for her anti-virus provider and Microsoft, sent spam
e-mails from her account and changed settings so that other computers
on the couple’s home network had a chance of receiving erroneous
information. For example, it tampered with settings so that certain
advertisements chosen by the virus program showed up during Google
searches. The engineer said he ultimately had to reformat the hard
drive to remove the virus.
The same out-of-work engineer received a separate e-mail appearing to
come from a legitimate headhunter he had previously contacted. The
well-written message appeared to have been sent from a staffing agency
that employs individuals at high-tech companies. It asked him to
update his online resume because the headhunter thought he’d be a good
fit for a position. The man said he clicked on the link and was about
to enter his personal information when he discovered that the Web
address he was sent to was a fake.
JOB SEEKER TIPS
- Avoid any job that requires you to pay money up front. And
never send money by Western Union or Moneygram to someone you don’t
know, even if you are sent a check. Fraudulent wire transfers are one
of the most common scams.
- Protect your personal information. Use caution when posting
your resume online and take advantage of tools that allow you to hide
your contact information. Reputable career websites will provide you
with the opportunity to communicate with potential employers via a
confidential e-mail address, so that your real e-mail address remains
private. Never include your Social Security number, driver’s license
or birth date on an online resume or share this information if
requested by a prospective employer until you have confirmed that the
employer and the job offer are genuine.
- Don’t click on links sent in e-mails. Check out potential
employers with the Better Business Bureau and independently confirm
the employer’s identity. It should be a red flag if an employer uses a
common e-mail account like Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail or MSN instead of a
corporate domain. Be suspicious, too, if the only provided phone
number always goes to voicemail or if the only available contact
address is a P.O. box.
- Secure your computer. Ensure that your computer operating
software and anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are updated to
detect the latest threats and protect your system.
- Steer clear of too-good-to-be-true offers that promise large
paychecks for few hours of work.
Email scams targeting job seekers
To help you conduct a safer
job search, we would like you to know about email scams that have been
targeted to job seekers in recent months. There are two types of email
scams, commonly known as spoofing and phishing.
Spoof emails often include a fraudulent offer of employment and/or the
invitation to serve as a go-between for payment processing or money
transfers. This scam is primarily directed at a general audience, but it can
also reach job seekers who have included contact information on their
Payment processing is a common spoofing scheme that is often targeted to
people using online services to search for jobs. The scammer uses email
messages that include a fraudulent offer of employment. Once the scammer has obtained
the victims trust, checks or money orders are sent for "processing". The
victim is asked to cash a check or money order, keep a percentage of the
funds as payment for their services, and send the balance of the funds back
to the scammer. Once the funds are sent, the victim's bank or financial
institution learns that the check or money order was fraudulent. The funds
are then subtracted from the victim's account and they are made liable for
the lost money.
If you think you have been a victim of this scam or other email fraud,
you should report the event to your local law enforcement authorities to
make them aware of the situation. You may file a report online with the FBI
Internet Crimes division at
www.ic3.gov. You may also report the event
to the WorkSource Washington
Phishing emails are used to fraudulently obtain personal identification and
account information. They can also be used to lure the recipient into
downloading malicious software. The message will often suggest there are
issues with the recipient's account that require immediate attention. A link
will also be provided to a spoof website where the recipient will be asked
to provide personal/account information or download malicious software.
WorkSource will never ask you to download software in order to access your
account or use our services. For examples of this type of scam, see
Protecting Your Privacy
If you choose to post your résumé at Go2WorkSource.com, your résumé text and
the contact info you select in Step 2, "Contact Information", will be
viewable online by registered employers if you choose to
enable your résumé for employer search. Any résumé or application you
create and save to WorkSource may be hidden from online searches but still
be used to apply for jobs. If you do not want your résumé to be included in
résumé searches, choose NO for "Enable Search" as you post a new résumé. To
disable an existing resume, log in to your MyWorkSource account, select
Manage Resumes, choose "None" from the list under "Resumes Enabled for
Employer Search", and click on "Update".
When posting your résumé to Go2WorkSource.com, you have the choice of
selecting at least one of the "Contact Information" options. To maximize
your personal privacy, we suggest that you select "Show E-mail Address"
only. You also have the option to keep your contact information
anonymous. When you enter your résumé text, it is not necessary to
include your address, phone number, or other personal information unless you
prefer to have this information shown. If you don't have an e-mail account,
the services listed below offer free e-mail accounts. It takes about 15
minutes or less to sign up and get your account.
Yahoo Mail |
False job postings
Job postings may be listed online and used to illegally collect personal
information from unsuspecting job seekers. To protect job seekers from false
information like this, Go2WorkSource staff review job listings daily. It is
the employer's responsibility to ensure that all applicable laws and
regulations, including the
Job Posting Guidelines are followed. If any of the following conditions
apply, the job may be removed from the Go2WorkSource database:
- You are required to pay a significant monetary investment.
- You are charged a fee.
- The position you are applying for is involved in a labor dispute.
- The job listing contains illegal, offensive, or unsuitable content.
- The job specifications are discriminatory based on sex, national
origin or citizenship, religion, language, or age, unless supported by a
federal or state law or by a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification.
- The job site is not within Washington state or the surrounding area.
- The job listing is vague, redundant, out of date, or inappropriate for
some other reason as determined by WorkSource staff or by complaints from
users of Go2WorkSource.com.
Here are some important tips to use when dealing with prospective employers:
- Do not give your social security number until you have confirmed that
the employer and the job offer are genuine, even if they suggest that it
is for a "routine background check."
- Do not provide credit card or bank numbers, or engage in any monetary
- Do not provide any non-work related personal information (i.e. social
security number, eye color, marital status etc.) over the phone or online.
- Be cautious when dealing with contacts outside of your own country.
If you see a questionable job posting or website activity or a job that
Job Posting Guidelines, you can
Contact Us at the Go2WorkSource Help Desk and report it using the
For more information about protecting your privacy, see
Fighting Online Fraud. Additional consumer advice is available at