Employment fraud is rampant in any economy, but with unemployment rates higher than they have been in decades and even more people who have given up the job search, con artists offering job opportunities seem to be on the increase.
Employment fraud is any misleading or false advertisement or offer of employment, sometimes for a fee, that either leads the unsuspecting consumer to commit an unlawful act, to give up identifying information, or to perform services without payment.
Many employment fraud scams occur online. You may have received a legitimate looking email from a well-known job site offering employment that you respond to with your resume and cover letter. Soon, you receive another email that asks for other information, like your driver’s license and Social Security number, none of which are ever required before you are hired and should be a clear signal of an employment fraud scheme.
Other employment fraud scenarios offer home business opportunities such as data entry, posting ads online, reading emails, stuffing envelopes, or becoming a re-shipper. The attraction of these alleged job offers is that they offer good money for low level skills, contending that thousands of companies are looking for people like to you to handle simple tasks and are willing to pay incredible sums of money.
Although some of these employment fraud scams may only cost you under $100, others can cost you much more. For example, one employment fraud offer involved hiring you as their business agent and sending you a check for thousands of dollars from a legitimate company drawn on a closed account and you are asked to deposit it in your own account. A bank will honor the check and you are asked to withdraw a certain amount to send by wire to someone, and to keep the rest. Unfortunately, you will be held responsible for the funds by the bank for the thousands of dollars you wired once the bank discovers the closed account.
More common employment fraud schemes are data entry and posting ads online. For a fee, you are given a list of companies that are either no longer in business or have no interest in you, or ever had any interest in hiring anyone to do this type of work. Other schemes are multi-level marketing opportunities in which only a tiny fraction of people succeed.
To protect yourself against employment fraud, here are few things you can do: