Don’t Fall Victim to Online Help Wanted Scams

As the unemployment rate continues to climb, desperate job seekers need to be extra careful not to get sucker punched by bogus help wanted ads.

Recent job scams lure victims with phony data entry job listings on craigslist. Those who respond to these postings are contacted via email claiming to have been chosen for an interview. The email also says that employees are paid via direct deposit and directs the chosen job seeker to follow a link where they have to provide their personal information.

Consumers need to learn how to spot warning signs of fake listings and, therefore, BBB offers the following tips:

  • Exercise caution. When using social networking sites like Facebook or web sites like craigslist, be sure to check the company’s actual website and verify the position to make sure it actually exists. If you don’t see the job listed on the site, it’s probably a scam.
  • Guard your resume. All prospective employers want to see your resume, but make sure you only send or upload it to a legitimate company, since resumes offer identity thieves rich pickings in terms of your personal information.
  • Check out the company. Many scammers use company names that are similar to reputable ones to fool job seekers. Check out the company at, and you can Google the company as well. Whenever possible, apply for the job through the company’s site.
  • Never, ever pay upfront fees. No credible job offer will ask a potential employee to foot the bill for background checks, credit reports or administrative fees before an interview.
  • Protect your personal information. Job seekers should never provide their Social Security number or date of birth until they’ve verified the legitimacy of the position. And never offer bank account information for direct deposit setup until you’ve officially been hired.
  • Beware of the “perfect offer.” Job seekers should be extra wary of any job offering great pay for short hours or minimal experience. If it sounds too good to be true, you can be sure it probably is.
  • Avoid work-at-home offers. Most jobs that promise the ability to earn big bucks from home are scams designed to trick you into divulging your credit card information, cashing fake checks or paying for training that should be free. Employees who work from home typically need to undergo a traditional hiring process and are usually expected to have prior experience.

If you, or someone you know, has fallen victim to this scam, or a similar scam, we encourage you to share your story with us.