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Four Tips On Avoiding Online Job Scams

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Thanks to the Internet, physical boundaries like an office have already been torn down by telecommuting. In a statistic published on Biz 3.0; 63 million workers are expected to adopt telecommuting by 2016. With so many people looking for work-from-home opportunities online, they sometimes become victims of online job scams. Now, to help job seekers avoid being taken advantage by unscrupulous people, here are four tips to remember:

 1. Never give out personal information

Nowadays, identity thieves are also targeting people looking for new careers. Jay Foley, Identity Theft Resource Center’s Executive Director, said in a Bloomberg Businessweek report that “the job-seeker market has slowly but surely been invaded by scammers.” In fact, these scam artists use the identities they’ve stolen to sell them to people who need this data for employment. Also, these stolen identities can be used for fraud. Richard McMunn of how2become wrote an article advising people to avoid including their Social Security or National Insurance Number on their CVs. “This is not the information that you supply on a CV ever” he said. This is to protect an applicant’s identity, in the event that the CV falls into the wrong hands.

2. Before applying, verify if the job listing is legitimate

Vulnerability is one of traits these scammers are looking for in their targets. They think that since a lot of people are desperate enough to land a telecommuting job, they allow themselves to be vulnerable. Adam Levin of IDT911 mentioned in a Fox Business interview that “it’s about distraction, opportunity and vulnerability.” He believes that since applicants are so focused on getting a job, most of them never realize that they’re the job. To verify if a job listing is legitimate, here are some things to look out for:

> The job is too good to be true

> Vague job requirements and description

> It’s asking applicants to send money to them

> Potential earnings higher than expected (e.g. £63,000 annual income)

> The recruiter is using a personal email address (Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail)

Remember that scammers use reputable companies as fronts for their illegal activities. It’s recommended that job seekers should visit a company’s website before pursuing an application.

3. Be in the know and spot potential job scams

The Internet is the best tool to learn about potential job scams. Its wealth of information can definitely help you verify things like the company or person offering you a job. Although, most telecommuting job interviews are done via online messengers like Skype; it would be better if the company can provide a physical address for anyone to visit. This allows job seekers to check their facilities out and registered business license. If the employer is unable to verify the above-mentioned information, then this definitely raises a red flag. Aside from these, if they’re asking payment for certain training, materials, or application fees, turn their offer down and move forward.

4. Exercise caution and trust your instincts

Not all jobs, especially telecommuting jobs, appearing on major websites are legitimate. Since most of these sites don’t really pre-screen job posts, research on them on Google. Leverage on social media sites like LinkedIn to ask about the job advertisement. Chances are, someone within the network can either vouch for it or warn people not to pursue it. Aside from social media sites, online communities, news websites, and even personal blogs can offer information about it. If it already scammed a lot of people, it will definitely earn a bad reputation and be on top of the news. Again, if it’s too good to be true, forget about it.

For job seekers, looking for work online can be both stressful and emotional. Most of them just want to get a job and move on with their life. Since these are what scammers usually look for, people should be wiser when looking for a job. Arming themselves with the necessary information will not only save them time, but it can also protect their identity.

About the Author

Sookie Lioncourt Sookie Lioncourt

Sookie Lioncourt believes that telecommuting will change how we work. As a freelance writer, she often visits LinkedIn for career tips and advice. For writing inspiration, Sookie reads through the articles posted on How2Become. Connect with her on Twitter; @sookielioncourt

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