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Department of Labor

Job Scams

Red Flags for E-mail Scams

Many credible businesses now use online sites such as Facebook and Craigslist to recruit new employees.  Conducting your job search on the Internet is convenient and popular in today's job market.

However, dishonest individuals may try to draw you into an e-mail scam.  Be wary of any unwanted e-mails you may receive claiming that a company is interested in your resume. 

If you receive an e-mail that fits any one of these criteria, chances are it is a scam. Beware if the e-mail:

  • Does not greet you by name
  • Is from an individual or web site you do not recognize
  • Does not include information about a specific job opening.
  • Offers a job that appears "too good to be true"
  • Mentions vague "we have thousands of jobs" or "we work with major companies"
  • Mentions seeing your resume on a site where you did not post it
  • Does not say where the sender saw your resume
  • Links to a web site that looks professional, but lacks any details as to
    • Who is running the company
    • Other companies they have worked with
    • Where the company is located
    • Company contact information
  • Offers to sell you a "starter kit" or something similar
  • Mentions paying you via bank account transfers

If you get involved in any of these schemes, your identity may be stolen or your bank accounts drained. You could be charged with a crime or series of crimes -- even if you participate without knowing, it is a crime. 

Tips for Avoiding E-mail Scams

  • Limit the amount of personal information you provide to employers. No credible employer should ever ask you for bank account numbers, credit card numbers, mother's maiden name, or other identifying traits before hiring you.
  • Protect your Social Security Number. Some genuine employers do ask for your SSN on an online application, but as a general rule, never provide your SSN, especially in combination with credit card information. This can lead to identity theft.
  • Keep good records of sites where you post your resume. Delete it from those sites after your job search is complete.
  • Reply to jobs directly without using a third party. Post your resume directly on the web site of the company that posted the job.
  • Use resume privacy options. Many job sites allow customers to hide contact information and to control who contacts them.

Steps for Victims of E-mail Job Scams

  • Report the company name, job posting, and all contact names to the job site where the scam was posted.
  • Close all e-mail addresses linked to the scam.
  • If you provided bank account information, close all accounts at the bank where the scam took place.

Victims of internet fraud may also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership of the FBI, National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

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