Still Hiring

Employment: job scams and warning signs

After COVID-19 unemployment rates reached the highest in the United States at 14.7 percent in April 2020. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics report, on August 2020 the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.4 percent. The State of Florida reported a 7.4 percent and Osceola County still one of the highest counties with 15.1 percent. These high unemployment rates can also lead to an increase in scams for those who are seeking employment.

Are you looking for employment? If the answer is yes, be aware of common signs and how to identify the different types of job internet scams. Have you ever applied for a job and wonder if it is real or a scam? Have you ever received an email or letter notifying you have been hired and asked to provide confidential information? These are some of the signs to identify scam job offers.

It is too good to be true. For example, offering a high pay rate such as working a part time job that pays $65,000 a year. We all know good jobs are hard to find. Another scam, they contact you but you didn’t contact them. Some scammers will contact you stating you need to provide your Social Security for an interview or provide a credit card to do a background check, and they will reimburse the money once you start working. Consider these strategies used by the scammers as a warning sign and don’t fall for it.

When you are searching for a job online in a market that is flooded with applicants you may come across emails stating they want to interview you via text or messaging services. The scammers will set up the dialogue, also will provide professional instructions and once you are in the conversation may ask for confidential information. Know who you are talking to before you provide any personal information. Ask for details about the job, research the company and representatives before you agree to an interview.

If after a quick phone call or messaging services interview you get a phone call right away to offer you the job. Be on the alert. Scammers are looking for victims they know many are in need of a job to start earning an income. They also provide vague job requirements on their site, phone call, or email. Always remember if it is a real job the description will be specific.

If you are seeking employment, you probably are applying to approximately 15 to 20 jobs a week. You are submitting your resume and completing many online jobs application. If you are applying for nationwide companies, scammers that are more sophisticated will send scam emails that will look like they come from real companies. Furthermore, they will mimic the logo,  phone, and address of such companies as well as they might include a welcome letter as a new hire signed by a director of such company, an orientation day, and pay rate even if you haven’t been interviewed. Do your research before agreeing to submit your information. Recently one of our readers contacted us stating he got a scam job offer:

 “I received an email from FedEx offering a job for $31.30 per hour, the New Hire Orientation date set for Nov. 7, 2020, no location for the orientation until completing the New Hire Form. They provided a link and Employee ID number to fill out the questions on the link. Once directed to the link, I was asked for confidential information such as Social Security number, date of birth, a credit card number to pay for fingerprints $98 dollars refundable after 30 days of continuous employment.”

The letter included the logo, his name, it was signed and had the company information. He researched by calling the number, it was an automated system and was transferred to a voicemail. The email also contained the main address for the company. After an online search of the email, the name of the representative who signed the letter, and the phone number,  it was all a scam.

To prevent you from get scammed, use job sites with privacy policies that will allow only verified employers to view the listings.  Apply directly through the company’s website. Make sure the website is secure by looking at the web address bar it should be https:// and you can also check for the security report through the lock icon beside it. When searching for company information, search for the company’s name and also type the email address.  Do not send money or make any payments, legitimate companies don’t ask for money to pay in advance for software, credit reports, to have your resume reviewed, background checks, or fingerprints.   If you suspect is a scam, do not submit your personal information.

As we continue to move to use online services, it is essential to protect our identity, keep safe our personal information, and be careful with the data we exchange digitally. Researching is your best defense against scams. If it results to be a scam, report it to the authorities, the original company if possible, and post it online.  Using these strategies will help you navigate your online employment search safely and help others not to get scammed. Stay safe!