If you are like many other Americans right now (say almost 10%), you might be out of work. And if you are not working at the moment, chances are you have been looking for a job. In doing so, you are most likely not a stranger to job scams on the Internet.
They are everywhere – in every sector of the workforce, on most career sites, and pretty much anywhere you could think to search for jobs online. Job scammers have found their way in, and they are just waiting for you to fall in their trap.
The recession and high unemployment rates have sparked a dramatic increase in the number of complaints about job scams. People’s stories of fraudulent job offers are more than triple what they were two years ago. Sometimes when you go onto a career site, it seems as if there are more scams than there are actual jobs.
But if you know what to look out for, you can usually manage to avoid the predators. They like to use certain terms to draw people in; words like “immediate openings”, “multiple positions”, “unlimited earning potential”, and anything else that might spark a glimmer of hope in the down-trodden out-of-workforce.
Once you are drawn in, you are usually redirected to another site that wants you to sign up for one thing or another or divulge your personal information. The sad thing here is that job scammers frequently succeed in getting what they want. People are so desperate for a chance to earn some money these days that they will fall for almost anything.
Probably the two most popular types of job schemes are those for telemarketing and work-at-home positions. They guarantee big earnings without leaving the comfort of your own home with testimonials from previous clients and so on and so forth. Then you click on it, pay for a start-up fee or give away your info, and the scammers have got what they were looking for. And you, the sucker, are left out in the cold and still jobless.
It’s unfortunate that scammers realize the perfect environment that unemployment and the recession have created for them. They take full advantage of the desperation of the unemployed and they are good at it.
So it’s up to the out-of-workers to get better at what we do. Search smarter. Don’t sign up for anything. Don’t give away your info. If you are redirected a bunch of times, just shut it down. And most of all, use your best judgment. Granted that it is very easy to get carried away in such a bleak climate and hope for the best, but scammers are all too prevalent to be able to trust in the common good of humankind. When it comes to searching for jobs online, that virtue goes out the window.
Oh yeah, one more thing – if you see an ad to be a movie extra, mystery shopper, envelope stuffer, work-at-home mom, telemarketer, customer service representative, salesperson, online writer, aspiring model/ actor, bus driver, school teacher or President of the United States of America, chances are it’s probably a scam.