Job scammers are always on the prowl, but with today’s competitive job markets and high levels of unemployment in many parts of the world, scammers are taking full advantage of people’s desperation to get a job, and job scams are become more widespread. While desperate job seekers are scouring the internet and classifieds for jobs, just remember that so are scammers doing exactly the same thing, except they are on the prowl for unsuspecting victims, and you don’t want to become one of them!!

First rule – don’t fall victim to get rich quick schemes such as work at home schemes, pyramid schemes etc. Don’t fall victim to anyone who promises employment for money. NEVER PAY MONEY UPFRONT FOR A JOB PROMISE.

Remember no legitimate employer is ever going to ask for money. As soon as they ask for money, your alarm bells should start ringing very loudly, and you should know that something is not right.

A very common scam, involve offers of jobs offshore. In this situation the scammer will offer you a wonderful job in a country such as the UK or Canada, with what you think is a reputable company. They will then tell you that they are going to organise the necessary work permits, medicals and other requirements that are needed in order to work in these countries, and it is at this point that they start asking for money, to pay for the work permits etc. So while the job seeker starts making plans to move overseas and dreams of a better life, they do not realise that they are about to be scammed out of the little money they have.

Another popular scam is that they will pitch offers of guaranteed employment on the condition that you pay up front for things such as credit checks, or application or recruitment fees. Needless to say once you have handed over your hard earned money the scammer disappears and you are left with no job and poorer.

Another popular scam is that of identity theft, where scammers pose as company representatives and seek out personal and or financial information from you, on the pretext of doing credit and background checks, meanwhile they are actually in the process of stealing your identity.

Many reputable firms have been used by scammers who use their company names, logos and reputations to scam job seekers. Always ensure that you check the company website, does it match the real one? Is the telephone number on the letter of offer, the same as that in the telephone directory? Phone the phone number listed in the telephone directory and ask to speak to whoever it is that you been dealing with, in order to ascertain if they actually do work at the company. Do your homework. Remember as well, as flattering as it may seem, what are the chances of a company hiring you without having sat down to interview you first? Or to go to great expense to move you to the other side of the world for a job that they could very easily hire locals for and that you may have not even applied for to begin with.

Remember that most legitimate recruiters will have an email address from their company. They will not be using yahoo or gmail accounts. A company that asks for your bank details or credit card details is also a huge warning sign. It is true that plenty of companies use direct deposits to pay salaries, but this information should only be asked for, once you have been hired.

Be very careful about handing over personal information such as your date of birth and most especially your social security number. Once a scammer has this information they open credit cards in your name and can run up huge bills, which can be hard to prove were not from you.

Another common scheme is for the scammer to persuade you to deposit money in offshore accounts, with promises that your investments will grow dramatically and make you wealthy. This unfortunately will never happen, and that will be the last you see of your money.

When something arrives in your inbox, offering you a wonderful work opportunity, be very careful. How is possible that a company will have known you were looking for a position, unless you have already approached them? The same rule applies when you get a message in your inbox informing you that you have just won the UK Lottery. How is it possible to win a lottery that you have probably not entered into in the first place? Use your common sense, and do your checks.

Scammers are unethical, ruthless people, whose only intention is to rob you of your money, and sadly in many cases, money that desperate job seekers cannot afford to part with. Always remember if the job offered “sounds too good to be true” there is a good chance that it is.

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