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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > April 2017 > In the Market for a New Job? Beware of Employment Scams

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In the Market for a New Job? Beware of Employment Scams

Job hunting can be time consuming and stressful. As a result, offers for high-paying work-from-home jobs or lucrative online positions may be tempting, but unfortunately, they’re often scams.

Never assume a job offer is real just because you find it on a legitimate website or in a newspaper. Many job scams promise good money but offer only a vague job description, or claim to pay more than what you would expect to earn based on the experience or skills required. Also, proceed with caution anytime you receive an unexpected job offer or complete an online job application. Scammers often create phony job postings and applications in an effort to steal personal information from unsuspecting jobseekers. They may even falsely pose as representatives of real Fortune 500 companies.

One Ohioan recently received an email about a work-at-home job. He expressed interest and participated in an online interview. He got a job offer and was told he needed to purchase startup materials for his new home office. The “employer” sent him a $1,600 check, telling him to deposit it into his bank account, then use a money-transfer service to send the same amount to a Texas-based “vendor.” Next, he was told that more money was required, which led him to send another $1,600 to that same vendor. Both checks were determined by the bank to be fraudulent, leaving the consumer with an overdrawn bank account and no real work-at-home job.

Signs of a job opportunity scam include:
  • Demands for upfront payment via prepaid credit card or wire transfer
  • Requests for personal information, especially early in the application process
  • Unrealistic salaries, benefits, or incentives
  • Vague job descriptions
  • Claims such as “No Experience Necessary!” or “Guaranteed Placement!”
  • High-pressure sales tactics
  • Interviews in suspicious locations
  • Offer of employment after only online interviews in a chat room or by using an instant messaging app
  • No written information provided
  • Being selected for a mystery shopping job you never applied for
When applying online, make sure a website is secure before entering your personal information. The web address should read “https” rather than “http.” The “s” stands for secure, meaning that the information is encrypted and less likely to be hacked by scammers. Also, consider applying for a job directly through the hiring organization’s website rather than submitting your information to a third-party job search site.

If you suspect a job opportunity scam or an unfair business practice, report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-282-0515 or visiting