Watch Out for those Job Scams!

Whether or not you believe that the jobless rate is improving, jobs are still hard to come by. Unfortunately, for the job hunter, there is danger, in the form of job scammers, who seem to proliferate when unemployment is up.

I use Craigslist a lot, for all kinds of things and did use Craigslist when I’ve hunted for jobs in the past. In my browsing of Craigslist, I’ve noticed some interesting things that the job hunter should stay away from.

One, is the fake driving job. This scam was prevalent about 4 years ago, and is still around. Often, the job advertises great pay for little work, as most scams do, and only requires you to drive your car, or they offer you the use of their car for the job.

An ad I saw once read like this:

“Personal driver wanted, part-time, great pay – $780 per week.

I am a businessman doing business in India, then I will be coming to the USA. My wife will be here ahead of me and needs a personal driver. I will pay you $780 a week. I will send you a check with additional funds, which you will send back to me after you cash the check.”

The part about the check is a huge and classic red flag showing that this is a scam. Just with a different twist from the old, ‘relative needing money’ scam, or the ‘you’ve won the (Pick a country!) lottery‘ scam.

In addition, the pay is way to high for a job that asks for so little. Remember the adage, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.’ Then, what person would trust their spouse to a perfect stranger? And if they can afford to pay $780 weekly, that’s more than enough for public transportation and the occasional taxi, or even a cheap rental car if you pay weekly rates! Pure scam! Also, watch out for poor grammar, as this, too,  is sometimes and indicator of a scam.

Mailing for dollars? Don’t do it! Other ads I’ve seen promise to pay you a good deal of money, $450 weekly or thereabouts, for receiving small catalogs or brochures in the mail, then mailing them to a list of customers, or distributing them personally. Seems easy enough. However, with further research, these turn out to be mostly foreign companies that never pay off, and will often try to get you to pay fees up front. In any event, if they are really selling items through these catalogs or brochures, they are still getting free advertising here. And, if not, then they scam more victims, namely those who you give the catalogs to, who send money to buy products that they never receive!

Again, the pay seems too good to be true!

Even legitimate companies can scam you when it comes to employment! As part of my work, I distribute flyers as an independent contractor for various clients.

An ad I saw was from a contractor who was working for a well-known and established company. His job was to build and manage a team of subcontractors all over the country distributing the company’s flyers. The company was to pay the contractor a portion of each sale made, and each subcontractor would also get a portion of each sale made from the flyers they distributed, through a code that each subcontractor was given. When a sale was made and the code given to the company rep, that subcontractor would get paid $75 for that sale and the contractor under which the subcontractors worked, would get $125. We were told by the company that 1 out of every 100 flyers distributed would result in a sale, at least in general. This was verified by the second company in this story. So, if a subcontractor distributed 2000 flyers to homes in a week on average, which is easily doable, that subcontractor would make 20 sales a week on average, or $1,500 weekly. Even if only 1 out of 500 flyers resulted in a sale, the subcontractor would still make $300 weekly.

Well, I did my research, talked with the contractor, and took a position on his team. He asked for no money, as a scammer would have. I was provided with the copy of the flyer. Our team over the course of a month distributed over 20,000 flyers, which should have resulted in around 200 sales. But we heard nothing and, when the contractor inquired with the company, he was told that the company executive he had been working with had taken the money and ran, and that we would not be getting any money!

So, the contractor went to the second company, another well-known and established company and a direct competitor of the first company. The second company’s executive told the contractor that the 1 out of 100 flyers resulting in a sale was true fact, and that what happened to our team with the first company would not happen with his company.  Well, after another 20,000 flyers were distributed by our team, we again heard nothing! Upon the contractor’s inquiry, we were told that the company only received two, yes, 2 phone calls! From 20,000 flyers distributed! The company also said they ‘didn’t know what to tell us.’  Their claim is pure B.S.!  And here’s why.

Now, having distributed flyers for a number of clients, I’ve been told that they’ve always gotten some response from the flyers I’ve distributed. Once, I’d distributed just 200 flyers when the client called me and said she’d already received 40 hits on her website directly from the flyers I’d distributed that day! And this from only 200 flyers! So, 20,000 flyers should have generated far more than just two phone calls!

Luckily, I’d lost no money from this and I was distributing other clients’ flyers concurrently with these, so I was not passing up other money making business in the process.

To the contractor’s credit, he was upfront about all of this and his actions showed me that he was definitely not the scammer in this case, but had been scammed, too, by both of these companies!

So, even if you’re dealing with a legitimate company or person, look at some of the details. Like location and access to those you’ll be working for. If you cannot meet with at least a supervisory person in person, think twice before accepting the offer.

Last but not least, there are other things to watch out for. Be especially careful when answering the phone when you’re tired or stressed. If you’re unemployed, this could increase your vulnerability. A friend of mine had been awakened one morning with a phone call. She was groggy and the caller claimed he needed her social security number for a possible job, so she gave it and the caller hung up! Then, as she became more awake, she realized what she’d done! She pressed star69 to redial the number and found that it was a number in a foreign country! When she told the authorities, she confirmed that she’d been scammed. She took quick action to prevent more trouble, but who knows?

So be sure that you’re fully awake when you answer the phone, especially if you are unemployed, looking for a job, and maybe expecting phone calls from prospective employers!

And remember, these are not the only scams out there, they do often change as people become wise to them, and new ones crop up every day, so be alert and question anything that looks too good to be true!

And good luck in these tough times! Oh, by the way, if you need a resume, or know someone who does, please go to the services page on this site.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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