TULSA, Okla. — You see them in your email, in text messages and on social media feeds — tantalizing ads offering big bucks for jobs.
The ads can seem reasonable given the tight labor market. But you may want to take a step back before you apply.
Among the real opportunities, scammers are posing as businesses on popular job search sites. They are hoping to steal your money or personal information, according to FBI Special Agent Keith Custer.
“A person is ‘hired’ and then sent a large check for $4,000-5,000 to set up their home office, the check is sent for too large of an amount, so they cash the check which of course turns out to be fraudulent and then they forward a chunk of that money onto the bad guy and they’re stuck once the bank figures out it’s no good,” Custer said.
The FBI also sees job seekers used as money mules.
“[Job seekers] unwittingly open bank accounts that the scammers can direct funds to be sent to and then move those funds as directed by the criminal.”
Scammers also create fake work-from-home opportunities helping them bypass any in-person meetings.
“They immediately hire you without really interviewing you, asking you questions,” said the Better Business Bureau’s Angie Barnett. “They’re going to lure you in with high pay.” Barnett said, “If it’s a job that’s normally $15-18 an hour and they’re suddenly offering you $25 or $30 an hour that’s a warning flag.”
Once they offer you the job, they send over employment paperwork asking for a lot of personal information.
“Names, social, bank account and routing number all of that information, which is normal to provide to an employer.”
Often it looks like a normal part of the onboarding for a new job but instead it is used to steal your identity. To help keep from falling victim to one of these employment scams:
- If you find a job offer online rather than click on that ad Google the company name, phone number, email address, and business address. If it is a well-known company, call its HR department and ask if they’re hiring for that position.
- Don’t provide personal or banking information before verifying the company and job are real
- Never accept or cash a check from a prospective employer that wants you to send part of that money back to them
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