By Erin Tucker
I'm sharing this scam alert with you that Kelly received from the Better Business Bureau because here at Tucker Law, we care about you all the time, not just when we're litigating a case on your behalf.
We were both surprised to learn that employment scams have recently climbed to the second most risky scam, exceeded only by online purchases.
Here's how this scam works
You apply online through a reputable, third-party job-seeking site. A few days or weeks later, you get a text message or email asking if you are still interested in the position or a similar one at the same company. Since you shared your personal contact information available to your potential employer when you applied, the message doesn't seem unusual.
If you reply to the message, the scammer will invite you to interview for the job. This is when red flags start to appear because instead of conducting a traditional interview, the "employer" asks you to download a messaging app and answer a few questions via text.
Then, you're offered the position on the spot, with great pay and benefits. Your new "employer" may even send you a convincing offer letter.
After your "job offer," the phony employer asks you to complete a form with your personal and banking information, claiming they need it for direct deposit. In other cases, the scammer may ask you to set up a home office, either with your funds or money they'll send you in a (fake) check.
If you send money or share your personal details, it will now be in the hands of scammers.
How to avoid job scams
Research the person who contacted you. If you suspect the person contacting you could be a scammer, look them up. A quick online search should reveal if they work for the company they claim to represent.
Do more research on the company. You may have done this before you applied for the position. Still, if you get a surprise offer to interview, it's worth doing more research to learn more about their hiring process, home office requirements, salaries and benefits packages. If these don't align with your offer, you could be dealing with a scammer.
Guard your personal information. Never give sensitive information to anyone you aren't sure you can trust. Be especially wary if someone pressures you to divulge your information saying the job offer will only last if you fill out all the forms.
Watch out for overpayment scams. Many job scams involve sending fake checks with extra funds. Scammers ask their victims to deposit the check and send back the excess amount, hoping they'll do so before they realize the check was fake and has bounced. Legitimate companies will only send you money after you've done work for them, so be wary of jobs that involve receiving and returning the money.
Don't fall for jobs that seem too good to be true. They probably are. If you are offered a job without a formal interview that has excellent pay and benefits, it's likely a scam.
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