Imagine showing up to your first day to work and realizing that job doesn’t exist and that you’ve just given all your personal information to scammers who pretended to hire you.
A recent FlexJobs survey of more than 2,500 job seekers found one in five had been a job scam victim at least once.
For many job seekers, just the act of applying can make you a scam target.
“Once you put your email out there it’s a shame how so many people can get ahold of it off a database,” said job seeker Ashley Garner.
In the three months that Garner has been looking, she says she gets at least one of these bogus employment ads a day. She almost fell for one.
“A gentleman called me by the name of Tom, and he was like, OK we’re happy to see you, we’ll be here this day, you know we’re looking to start you that day, we do all the training, no training needed,” said Garner, “So as that day went, I went to the location on Woodruff Rd and when I got there it was vacant.”
In the days before, the scammers had been trying to get all her personal information.
The biggest red flag of the company imposter scam: they hire you sight unseen.
“They get sucked in,” said Doug Stephenson, Director of the SC Works Upstate Project.
“And they don’t find out until it’s too late. Whether their personal information has been stolen because they accidentally, no not accidentally, they provided it not knowing it was a scam, those are the ones who really pay.”
For that reason, Stephenson says SC Works Upstate verifies every employer.
But other sites may not catch the latest scams like “reshipping jobs,” where you’re paid to process stolen goods.
Another job scam has to do with the post office, where schemers charge you a fee to apply for federal jobs. They might even sell you study material for the postal exam, all of which you should never have to pay for.
“It’s out there, and it’s sad before they’re coming at so many people and you can’t stop them,” said Garner.
But you can set rules. Never pay upfront fees and always meet a prospective employer in person.