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Spotting Employment Scams

You’ve applied online for several positions and you receive a phone message about a job from a well-known company!  The person calling says that they want to interview you.

You call in, interested.  The person asks a few interview questions, puts you on hold and then says that they want to hire you right away.  They offer you $20.00/hour, you can work from home and no experience is necessary.  They’ll even send you a check for any equipment you will need!  Sounds ideal, right?  Well, it’s probably a scam.

Be extra careful with your online job search.  Landing a legitimate work at home position requires research and asking a lot of questions.

Tips for Avoiding Scams

When you put your information online through Indeed, Monster, etc. you might get a call or e-mail that sounds too good to be true!  There are more work from home job scams than there are real work from home job listings, so students need to be careful when searching for and evaluating work at home job offers. Presume that the position is a scam unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. Take the time to research the position and the company, including talking to other people who work there. That way, you won’t be scammed, and you will be using your best efforts and best judgment to find a legitimate work from home job.

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. If you get an unsolicited email telling you that a company that you have never heard of wants to hire you for a job where you don’t need experience or skills and can make a lot of money, ignore it. There are lots of scams out there, some of which are personalized and sound quite legitimate.
  • Know the common scam jobs. There are a number of work at home jobs to avoid. These include assembly jobs, multi-level marketing, claims processing, and stuffing envelopes. Many of these positions require you to pay a lot of money, and you see little to no earnings.
  • Read the listing carefully. Make sure you know if there is a salary or if you’re paid on commission. Look into whether or not you need to buy equipment, and if you will be reimbursed.
  • Research the company. If you aren’t sure the company is legitimate, ask for references. If the company won’t provide references, do not apply.
  • Never send money. Employers should not charge you to begin working for them. Avoid any company that asks you to send money for equipment. Also, don’t send money for work at home directories or start-up kits.  Also, never give your bank account information or any other personal information that could help someone steal your identity.
  • Be wary if sent a check right away. Some people trying to steal your identity will send a check for equipment up front and require you to send part of the balance back.  If you give your bank information or any other personal information, they might steal your identity.
  • Avoid “get rich quick” ads. Be careful of listings that guarantee you wealth or financial success or that will help you get rich fast from home. They will probably do none of the above.
  • Evaluate every listing you look at very carefully. Find out if there’s a salary or if you’re paid on commission. Ask how often are you paid. Ask what equipment (hardware/software) you need to provide. Find out what support the company provides.
  • Ask for references. Request a list of other employees or contractors to see how this has worked for them.
  • Contact Career Services.  Have additional questions?  Call or e-mail us to get a second opinion!

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