Employment scams: they’re everywhere! Nowadays, with the economy struggling and more and more people looking for a fast answer to unemployment, the employment scam market has never been stronger. Here are some tips for protecting yourself from false hope, wasted time and most of all, outright theft of your money!
1. Look for start-up fees of any kind, including the purchasing of “necessary” materials or software. While there are a few exceptions, 99.9% of the time, a fee indicates a scam. Work is something you do to get paid, not something you pay to do. Never send money for a work opportunity unless everything else about the company is squeaky clean and you can find a good review of it and good record with the Better Business Bureau.
2. Consider any claims of overinflated pay to be dubious. Similarly, promises for super easy work, very flexible scheduling, and other too-good-to-be-true promises should seem suspicious when grouped together.
3. Doubt any ad that tells you more about how much money you’ll make and how great the work will be than it says about the work itself. Real employers want to entice only the best applicants for the job, whereas scammers want to entice anyone who can send them money.
4. Look for anonymity. Scamming is illegal, so people who do it don’t want to get caught. If names, faces, and addresses (other than a P.O. Box number) are kept well-hidden, this is a good sign that something sneaky is likely going on.
5. Assess the website, if there is one. Is it clearly part of the website for a larger company (with links back to a “home” index which will tell you what the site is about), or does it have nothing on it except information about the one particular offer you’re considering? Scammers will tend to throw up a quick, easy web page that does only what it needs to: tricking you into giving them your money!
6. Be wary of e-mail addresses from yahoo.com, gmail.com, hotmail.com, aol.com, or other popular free e-mail clients. While there is nothing wrong with these services (and nothing necessarily suspicious about an individual person who uses them), anyone who claims to be a contact for a legitimate, l
arge company should probably have an e-mail address from that company’s website. Heck, their company should HAVE a website!
7. Be cautious about giving employers samples of your work. Not all scams are based in getting your money: some of them want free work. It’s legit for a company who wants to hire writers, for example, to want to see samples, but if a company is asking for a lot of samples, samples written-to-order, and if they make it clear that anything you write during the “hiring process” will legally belong to them, don’t buy it!