Finding a new career is at the top of many Ohioans’ lists of resolutions. If you are in the market for a new job, you may have noticed job postings that sound too good to be true. What you may not know is that scammers who want to steal your money — and maybe even your identity — create many of these postings.
There are many red flags of a job scam. Never assume a job offer is real just because you find it on a legitimate website or in a newspaper. Job opportunity scams often promise good money and professional experience, but in reality, the jobs are either nonexistent or very low-paying. Some scammers ask job seekers to pay high fees for information, training sessions, or promotional materials that turn out to be useless. They fail to deliver on their promises, and victims end up losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Recently, an 84-year-old Ohio consumer filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office after falling victim to a business opportunity scam. The consumer was solicited in the mail to earn extra money online through a website that the “company” would set up and promote on the consumer’s behalf. After the consumer expressed interest, the scammer informed the woman that despite the fact she did not own a computer, she could still earn income from such an in-home business. The consumer paid $9,950 to the “company” by check and nearly $700 by credit card, only to receive nothing in return.
Proceed with caution any time you receive an unexpected job offer or complete an online job application. Scammers often create phony job postings and applications in order to obtain personal information from unsuspecting jobseekers.
When applying online, make sure the site is secure before entering your personal information. The web address should read “https” rather than “http.” The “s” stands for secure, meaning that the information is encrypted and less likely to be hacked by scammers. Also, apply for a job directly through the hiring organization’s website rather than submitting your information to a third-party job search site.
Signs of a job opportunity scam include:
Demands for upfront payment via prepaid credit card or wire transfer
Requests for personal information
Unrealistic salaries, benefits, or incentives
Vague job descriptions
Claims such as “No Experience Necessary!” or “Guaranteed Placement!”
High-pressure sales tactics
No written information provided
Being selected for a mystery shopping job you never applied for
If you suspect a job opportunity scam or an unfair business practice, report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov