Protecting our customers during the job seeking process is a top priority. Please take a moment to read how you can assist us by better protecting yourself. Below are some helpful tips that can help protect you during the process, whether you’re searching at home, on a public network, or at our job center locations in Joplin, Neosho, or Monett.
Steps to Better Protect Your Identity During the Job Seeking Process
- Avoid vague offers as these are often scams. If the employer is not willing to specifically describe the position they are offering, you should exercise caution.
- Be cautious of any employer who charges a fee, asks for a check, debit card or credit card to either employ or find placement for you.
- Thoroughly investigate any employer requesting that you transfer funds or receive packages for reshipment, especially if they are located overseas. These employment offers are commonly check-cashing or shipping scams!
- Do not provide your Social Security number or any other sensitive information to an employer unless you are confident the employer is legitimate and the information will not be misused.
- Be cautious of any employer offering employment without an interview (either in person or by phone).
- Be cautious when corresponding with an employer who contacts you or asks you to contact them at a gmail, yahoo, or other free email account.
- Be suspicious of anyone asking that you set up an Instant Message (IM) account to conduct an interview.
- Be cautious of links to non-recognized sites attached in emails.
- Be cautious of exaggerated claims of possible earnings or profits.
- Beware when money is required up front for instructions or products.
- Be cautious when dealing with individuals or companies located or operating outside of the United States.
- Be wary when replying to unsolicited emails for work-at-home employment. Research the company to ensure it is authentic.
- Be cautious of employers who conduct their interviews in a home setting or in motel rooms.
- If there are any doubts about the business contact the Better Business Bureau or visit the Missouri Attorney General’s Know MO website to verify the legitimacy of the company and review any complaints against them that may exist.
Common Employment Related Scams
Check cashing scams frequently begin with email correspondence offering a job either as a secret shopper or someone who transfers funds internationally.
Scam artists often attempt to reassure the victim of the legitimacy of the position by offering documents which actually have no value, such as invalid contracts, forged or false documents bearing company letterhead, false letters of credit, payment schedules and bank drafts. After obtaining the trust of the victim, the scammer continues. Checks, money orders or wire deposits will be sent to the victim for “processing” or for use as a deposit while “secret shopping” a local bank. The victim will be asked to cash the check or money order (wire deposits will send the money directly to the victim’s account) and send a percentage of the funds back to the scammers.
The need for the “middle man” is often explained as being a way around international fees or taxes, and sometimes the need to obtain payments from PayPal or another online payment system. Once the funds are sent back to the scammers (usually the victim is told to keep a percentage for themselves, as payment for their services) the victim’s bank or financial institution learns that the check/money order/wire transfer was fraudulent. The funds are then subtracted from the victim’s account and they are made liable for the lost money.
Reshipping scams often target work-at-home moms or other people trying to supplement their income. These scams begin with an employment offer, usually via email, to the victim. As with check cashing scams, these “employers” offer legitimate looking contracts and other documentation to make them appear legitimate. Once the victim’s trust has been obtained, packages are shipped to the victim’s residence with instructions to reship the packages to another address. (Often the victim is asked to repackage the goods.)
Once the package has been shipped from the victim’s residence (or by using a service such as DHL, FedEx or UPS) the victim is “guilty” of receiving and shipping stolen property. This can result in police involvement, as the return address or shipping receipts lead back to the victim.
WORK AT HOME SCAMS
Work at home scams are varied and can be more difficult to detect than the other scams described here. They come in many different forms and change regularly. The following are some of the most common:
Envelope Stuffing Scams: These scams usually incorporate a “registration fee” to be paid before work can begin. Once this fee has been paid, the “employee” is asked to post an ad in a local newspaper or other media, using their own contact information. This ad is often the exact same ad that the “employee” responded to. Once the “employee” receives a response to the ad, he or she will fill an envelope with information/instructions on how to start and mail it to the new applicant. The scammer claims that your fees will be calculated based upon how many responses you get for the ad you placed.
Medical Billing: Advertisements for these pre-packaged businesses always contain an initial financial investment. The advertisement or solicitations will falsely state that only a small percentage of medical claims are transmitted electronically and that the market for medical billing is wide open. In reality, however, the market is well established. You should, therefore be cautious of these advertisements.
List of Work-At-Home Jobs: These are offers to purchase a list of companies that are purportedly hiring for work-at-home positions. You should exercise caution before purchasing such lists because they are often inaccurate.
MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING (MLM) SCAMS
Also referred to as Pyramid Schemes, these marketing ploys involve recruiting new members to earn money. Although there are legitimate MLM businesses, also called “Network Marketing,” these are based on selling products or a service. When the business focuses primarily on finding new recruits, the business and its employees may be in danger of participating in an illegal pyramid scheme.
Some fraudulent employment offers may entice job seekers to attend an upcoming conference call by use of a specific access code. Be advised there are free conference call services that are sometimes used fraudulently to obtain information for unscrupulous and/or illegal reasons. Job seekers may be led to believe these are legitimate employers simply because of the conference call invitation. Job seekers must be cautious not to disclose any identifying information under such circumstances. Links to General Information on Internet Scams and Fraud
While the outline above is provided to inform you of common schemes, other types and variations may exist. Please see the links below for more information on internet scams and fraud: