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FTC offers tips for spotting job scams

The agency says job seekers should beware of scams related to working from home

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Photo (c) Kilito Chan - Getty Images
Looking for a job? If so, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests being wary of job scams. With the pandemic ongoing, scammers are continuing to try and ensnare people looking for work-from-home positions. 

Bad actors know that people are still hesitant to return to the office, so they “post the perfect work-from-home jobs, claiming you can be your own boss and set your own schedule, all while making a lot of money in a short amount of time and with little effort,” the FTC said. 

The federal agency warns that things that sound too good to be true usually are. In this case, scammers will end up asking the person who responded for either money or personal information.

Four tips

To avoid falling victim to a job scam, the FTC recommends the following the following tips to avoid falling for a scam:

  • Look out for job posters who ask for payment in exchange for a guaranteed job. If someone asks you to pay to get a job, it’s a scam. 

  • Conduct online search results to see if there are complaints. Look online for independent sources of information, using the name of the company or person who’s hiring you. The FTC recommends adding the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint” into the search. The results of an online search using these keywords are more telling than any testimonials you may find on the company’s website or in advertisements since those may be fake. 

  • Don’t trust the person offering the job if they send you a check. If a potential employer or new boss sends you a check, asks you to deposit it and then buy gift cards, or asks you to send some money back to them, it’s a scam. “The check may look like it ‘cleared,’ and the funds look available in your account,” the FTC said. “But that check was fake, and once the bank discovers that, the money is already gone.”

  • Rely on a trusted individual who is skeptical. Take your time before accepting. Run the job offer by someone you trust first. If it doesn’t sit well with that person, you may want to think twice before taking the job. 

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