Better Business Bureau: Fake Job Ads Includes Money Requests to Cover Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 7/16/2015
Online job boards are great places to find potential employment leads, add new companies to your application radar, and post resumes to get your name out there. Unfortunately, they are also hotspots for employment scams. The Better Business Bureau is currently warning job seekers against a recent rash of these fake job ads, encouraging employment seekers to keep their guards up and watch for warning signs of questionable behavior.

Just like Craigslist before them, job boards like Monster, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter have become places for con artists to target. The registration processes for these sites is simple, fast, and free, and companies don't have to provide business licenses or other proof of legitimacy to post job offerings. As a result, scammers can pray on job seekers by posting vague or generic employment descriptions to ensnare their targets. ("Administrative Assistant" is a common job title for these fake employment offers, according to the BBB.)

Often, scam artists grab the attention of job seekers by creating employment ads that seem too good to be true. Promises of working from home and great entry-level income with no experience or special training necessary are common for these "positions."

The real red flags, though, start after contact is made between the job searcher and the "employer." Usually, job seekers can spot job ad scams in one of three ways.

One, the "employer" will start asking for personal information that they should not need until the first day on the job. This can include your social security number, other identifying information such as your birthdate and address, bank account details for purposes of direct deposit payments, etc.

Two, the employer will start asking for money to process your application, cover the costs of background checks and drug tests, or pay the cost of training materials. Even employers who do ask applicants or employees to shoulder the cost of their own background checks will not do it via the Internet, and employers need written approval to run a background check on you anyway.

Three, the employer will send you a check as an "incentive payment," but then ask you to wire a portion of the money back for any number of reasons. The checks in these types of scams are always fake and will eventually bounce, subtracting the money from your bank account and leaving you out however much money you wired.

If you are asked to do any of these things before being officially hired for a job, especially without meeting with the supposed employer in persona, then the wise thing to do is walk away. You might even consider reporting the "employer" to the job board on which you found their job advertisement, just to help make sure that other job seekers don't fall into the trap, either.
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