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Sometimes jobs sound too good to be true. In most cases, they are. They may even be illegal. These scams are so pervasive that the Federal Trade Commission has a website where they update the public on new ones. There is also a section for the public to report problematic jobs they come across.
Red flags that may be a sign of a scam include any job that requires a new employee to pay them first, asks for their credit card or bank account information, or promises access to government jobs that are not made public. Make sure that you do some research on a company before you sign up to work with them. If they don’t have much of a presence online, you should be suspicious.
Below are 3 popular job scams to look out for:
1. Repackaging Scams
What if making money was as easy as receiving a package in the mail, placing it in another box, and shipping it off? Well, it’s not. If you get an offer like this, you’re likely being asked to ship items that are stolen or illegal, like drugs. Not only is it against the law, but you could be arrested just for having them in your possession. These jobs tend to pop up around the holidays as work-from-home “gift-wrapping” jobs. Ignore any offers that come your way involving repackaging work, and if you find yourself in a situation where you are already doing it, alert the authorities immediately.
2. Money-Laundering Schemes
If you have ever seen a TV show or movie that featured money laundering in its storyline, then you already know that you don’t want to get mixed up in it…or with the people who do it. A sure-tell sign that you’re being asked to join this type of scam is if you are asked to share your banking details, then receive checks to deposit and instructions telling you to send money to someone else. No matter what their justification, don’t fall for it. They are trying to use you as a “money mule” to launder illegally obtained money. Another tactic might involve them stealing your money. For example, they could send you a big check, claim they sent you too much, then ask you to mail them back a check for half the amount. Meanwhile, their check will bounce and you’ll have sent them your own hard-earned cash.
3. Call Center Scams
Here’s another scam that can be a miserable gig and land you in jail. If you take a job at a call center, make sure you pay attention to the sales script you’re given. Much like the jobs mentioned above, if the product you’re selling seems too good to be true—well, you know the rest. Many of these scams prey on the unassuming, like retirees, selling them get-rich-quick services. Or you may be asked to tell them that they are in danger of being sued and then convince them to sign up for protection such as insurance or a legal protection program. If your role involves trying to get someone’s credit card details through scare tactics or wild promises, run the other way. You’re likely involved in stealing their identity or their money. You may be given the script from your employer but you’re the one who will have to deal with the courts, and your conscience.
At ZipRecruiter, we take your protection seriously and are continuously improving job seeker safety. Part of that effort includes using proprietary software to review posts in an attempt to deny access to anyone who fails to pass our screenings. But no system is perfect, which is why we share articles like this one, as well as other posts with additional tips on avoiding job scams.
If you happen to come across something that seems suspicious, please email our dedicated Trust and Safety Team so we can have a look and take appropriate action. Our customer service representatives are available seven days a week to investigate and weed out anything that doesn’t seem right.
Be safe out there and good luck with the search!
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