Watch Out for Job-Search Scams
I got a phone call this morning regarding a job application I supposedly filed online. When I answered, a recording told me to stay on the line for a representative who would gather more information from me about my application. The thing is, I haven't filed any applications online lately. But I didn't hang up because I wanted to hear what sort of scam it was.
A "representative" finally came on the line and asked for my phone number so he could pull up my application. "Why do you need my phone number," I asked. "You guys called me." "If I had your number, I wouldn't be asking you for it," he said. "If you don't have my number, how did you call me?" I asked. Then I said, "I actually haven't applied for a job online." He hung up.
Clearly, the man was trying to pry personal information out of me. Ironically, I had received a press release earlier in the morning warning about job-search scams. Among the advice offered by the California Society of CPAs were signs of potential fraud:
1. A Job listing asking applicants to wire money. For example, be wary of ads from overseas companies looking for someone in the United States to handle transactions by "processing" payments through his or her own bank account and transferring some of the money to the company.
2. Requests for personal information. There are the obvious requests, such as the one I got. But you also have to be careful about the information you provide on a resume that you post online, such as your address and phone number. The California Society of CPAs recommends creating a job search e-mail address that doesn't include your name and listing a cell-phone number.
To protect yourself ...
1. Type the company's name and the word "complaint" into an online search engine, such as Google.
2. Go to the Better Business Bureau Web site to see if the company is listed and to check its rating.
3. If the deal sounds too good to be true, run, don't walk, away.
See Scams Exploit Hard Times for more ways shady operators might try to take advantage of you.