Job Phishing Scams

Scammers resort to many methods to get what they want including job phishing scams. When unemployment is high and many people are desperate to find jobs, they can easily be fooled by some well crafted employment ads they see in the papers or on the Internet, and receive in their emails. Often, these job ads are so well crafted that they make people want to pay upfront fees and fill out the applications which ask for all kinds of personal information including credit card numbers, national ID number, address, and date of birth (even though it’s not legal to ask for someone’s age in job applications in some countries).

Consumer complaints to the government illustrate how enticing some of these job phishing scams can be to job seekers. Some of the complaints are listed below:

  • I was desperate, and the ad said cleaning jobs were available. I called the number in the ad, and they said I could start working as soon as I paid $100 for certification.
  • I’d been looking for a job for months, and needed help. For $4,000, they guaranteed me interviews with their clients and said they'd refund my money if I wasn't satisfied.

As mentioned, scammers do their homework and know exactly what types of job ads will attract the most vulnerable. They advertise jobs exactly where legitimate employers post their job openings such as on popular websites, in the classified job sections, and even on TV. The ads are often professionally written and produced. They offer the dream job with a great pay, but there is a catch, job applicants have to pay some upfront fees and even worse, share some information which can cost them even more than the upfront fee. These jobs are too good to be true and when consumers fall for these job phishing scams, they risk losing everything and gaining nothing.

Legitimate companies would not make false promises or guarantee job offers and they do not ask prospective employees to pay for the promise of a job. Most job seekers don’t have to pay to get a job, although, in some cases legitimate service providers require a fee to prepare resumes, represent candidates, and guide job applicants during the interview and negotiation process. But these legitimate service providers must be researched to make sure they have good reputation and job postings must be verified to make sure they actually exist. You can contact the employer directly or visit their website to look up their job openings. Always make sure that you are comfortable about making a payment or sharing personal information for a possible job. In some cases when you have done your due diligence, it may be perfectly OK to pay and share information to get a job, but you have to do your part and verify the legitimacy of the job advertiser and the job itself.

If you discover a job phishing scam, complain to the Federal Trade Commission at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. Letting the Federal Trade Commission know about your experience can help put an employment scam out of business.

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