When you're unemployed, it can be easy to overlook the minute details of job opportunities. For example, the job may not be in the ideal location or offer the highest pay. While it's important to keep an open mind on a job hunt, often the desire for employment can lead you right into a scam. Job search sites and tools do their best to protect users from fraudulent job postings, but due to the open forum nature of many resources this is not always possible. Here are a few common scam tactics to watch for.
- Pre-pay or work at home. While working from home has become much more common in recent years, many "offers" are not legitimate and often attempt to obtain an initial monetary investment from the victim. "Be your own boss" and "make money quickly" scams usually do not promise a regular salary and almost always require an up-front investment for products or instructions.
- Money-laundering. Money laundering scams frequently engage job seekers with offers of "employment" with the promise of making up to $2,000 per day. If a "job" asks you to process checks or transfer funds on behalf of foreign nationals, it's a good idea to steer clear.
- Reshipping. Reshipping scams often draw people in with the same high pay rate as money launderers, but instead of dealing with money, you deal with packages. Scammers will ask "employees" to accept packages—often stolen goods like electronics—at home and then forward the packages to another address, typically in another country. Note: if you fall victim to a reshipping scam, you may be held accountable for all shipping charges and the cost of goods purchased with stolen credit cards.
As with many internet ventures, always make sure you read the fine print and do your research when evaluating job offers. And remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, immediately report the fraud to your local police. You may also want to file an online report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).