Employment-related scams are on the rise. These scams can cost you money, your reputation, or even your identity. We encourage you to follow the guidelines below as you evaluate opportunities, as they may be an indication of fraudulent activity:

  • Always research a company before applying for a job. Check its website, do an Internet search, and search for reviews on Glassdoor. If there’s no information out there or if the information doesn’t line up with the job posting, steer clear. If you have doubts about a company’s legitimacy, research the company using web sites such as the Better Business Bureau.
  • Conduct thorough research on positions that indicate the candidate will be “working from home” or will be “virtual” employee; while some legitimate home-based opportunities exist, this is a common element of fraudulent postings.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited job offers from people you don’t know.
  • If you receive an email in response to your job application, check that the email address and signature are legitimate. A Gmail or yahoo email address is a red flag, but even if the email address looks correct, double-check the domain. Sometimes scammers use domains that are very similar to authentic ones.
  • Never, under any circumstances, pay somebody who’s posing as an employer. If you’re asked to pay for anything at all—training, placement, materials, even a phone call—it’s a sure sign of a scam.
  • Make informed decisions before sharing your Social Security Number with a potential employer. Most employers will not ask for personal information until you arrive at their offices for an interview and are given a formal job application, so be wary if you are asked to give your Social Security Number by phone, email, or online. Asking for Social Security Number is not illegal, but they should have a good reason for doing so at the initial application.
  • Don’t accept any money unless you’ve verified that the company is a reputable business, you have a signed employment contract, and you’ve performed the work for which you’re being paid.

Trust your instincts. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Pay attention to anything that seems off. You can read more tips on identifying fraudulent employers from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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If you have concerns about identity theft problems resulting from your resume submission, you can also find helpful information at the Privacy Rights Clearing House and the Identity Theft Resource Center. There, you will find fact sheets and detailed information about specific steps you may wish to take.

If you believe you have been a target of a scam, you can file a complaint online with the FTC. If it is a situation where you have sent money to a fraudulent employer, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to close the account and dispute the charges. If the incident occurred completely over the internet, file an incident report with http://www.cybercrime.gov or by calling the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).