Employment fraud occurs when misleading or false information about a job opportunity is posted to lure people into believing they are working for a legitimate company or person and fail to receive any payment, are persuaded to unknowingly commit an unlawful act for compensation, or are persuaded to disclose their identifying information to get a job.
Here are some of the more common types of employment fraud:
Many people are now using the internet to find employment. Although there are many legitimate job sites, like Craigslist or Monster.com, cyber thieves often use these sites as well as their own creations, also called phishing, to get job seekers to divulge their personal information.
Illegal aliens, convicted felons, and others often commit employment fraud by obtaining email lists and sending out thousands or millions of advertisements promising hundreds of dollars per day or thousands per week doing menial online tasks, or acting as mystery shoppers or re-shippers of products that are usually stolen. To ostensibly be hired, the target is requested to initially supply their names and addresses and perhaps other seemingly innocuous information. Later, when seemingly hired, more specific information like Social Security number, date of birth, or bank accounts are requested.
Thieves usually sell Social Security numbers to felons and illegal aliens who need the numbers to get employment, insurance, medical services, housing, or other government benefits. Many illegal workers who toil in agriculture or farm labor or take minimum wage jobs use these Social Security numbers to get work and employers, desperate for low wage workers, contribute to the employment fraud by blindly accepting them.
The employment fraud results in victims losing tax refunds, incurring increased taxes, and possible exposure to criminal liability that they will have to defend against at considerable legal cost to them.
Re-shipping is an employment fraud that begins with an ad sent by someone from outside the US supposedly looking for a shipping broker or agent for their foreign company. You agree to accept a product mailed to you that you will ship to another address for several hundred dollars. The employment fraud is that the product is stolen property and you never receive any compensation. You are also subject to receiving stolen property, especially if it is shown that you should have reasonably known the product was stolen.
Mystery shopper ads are rampant on the internet and are a familiar if overused employment fraud scheme. There are legitimate companies that hire mystery shoppers and if you are interested, you should go online to investigate them. Usually, they require that you take a tutorial and then test your knowledge. A comprehensive checklist is generally provided for you to review. These companies usually pay about $10 to $50 in some cases.
The employment fraud mystery shopper ads do not require that you have any knowledge of what you are doing or provide any other information. The ads are crude with misspellings and only ask for your name and address and business experience. They also promise about $200 per job, which should be suspect by itself. After you respond, they reply saying you are perfect for the job and then request your Social Security number and banking information so they can send you payment.
There are hundreds if not thousands of businesses that depend on consumers to buy their products monthly and to recruit others to do likewise. You make money when your recruits purchase the company products and when they recruit others to buy as well. Many of these advertisements skirt the edge of employment fraud by not fully disclosing what you are required to do.
Usually, to move up in the company, you will have to spend hundreds of dollars per month on products you probably do not need or will use, and have to persuade hundreds of others to do likewise. Statistics show that perhaps 1-2% of multilevel marketers make any kind of significant money. The ads promoting these companies are deceptive and misleading with phony testimonials or life stories and often constitute employment fraud.