Scammers often target job seekers and potential entrepreneurs with fake and lucrative job offers. We know this because the FTC has investigated and arrested many of them. But scammers are a relentless breed and continue to make misleading presentations in online advertisements, job websites and social media platforms. Knowing some of the red flags can help you spot these scams.
Employment scams come in many forms. Some scammers falsely claim to offer inside information about executive positions, mystery shopper assignments, government careers, or product sales jobs. Others sell job offers or placement services that turn out to be worthless.
Their equally toxic cousins – the scammers offering fake business opportunities – are also very creative. For people looking to supplement their income, they may present an “opportunity” as a lucrative side business suitable for a stay-at-home parent or retiree. In other cases, they encourage would-be entrepreneurs to ditch the 9 to 5 altogether with bogus “be your own boss” promises that they can work less and still earn a lot of money. All you need are the “secrets” they will teach you. But after people invest thousands of dollars in the “opportunity”, the only one to make big money is the scammer.
Some scammers cast a wide net, while others use publicly available information to tailor their presentations to particular people. Others disproportionately target would-be entrepreneurs from the Black and Latino communities.
Maybe you or someone you know is considering a career change post-pandemic or looking for a business opportunity.. The scammers are looking for you. They want your money and your personal information. So don’t just take the word of the person presenting the opportunity, their agents, or anyone they suggest you talk to. Instead, before buying a business opportunity, pitch it to a reputable person who has no affiliation with the business – for example, a mentor in your community affiliated with the SBA’s SCORE program. Also, consider this:
- Do an online search for the company name with words like “scam”, “review” or “complaint”. This could lead to revealing reading about other people who have lost money.
- Legitimate employers, including federal and state governments, will never ask you to pay to get a job. Anyone who does is a scammer.
- An honest potential employer will never send you a check and then tell you to send them some of the money. It’s a fake check scam.
- Success stories and testimonials may not be true or typical. Rave success stories can be fake or misleading, and positive online reviews can come from made-up profiles.
Report scams, fraud, or questionable business practices to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.