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How to Avoid COVID-19 Employment Scams

According to a Flexjob survey, more than 80 percent of employment seekers are “on guard or very concerned about scams on other job boards” – and with good reason. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has reported over 13,000 fake listings.

With more people looking for work, whether temporary or long-term, scammers are taking advantage of the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. Watch out for the following signs you’ve received a fake recruiter email or fraudulent work-from-home offer.

1. Check the Company Name

In many cases, the name of a legitimate company is used in these false job listings. If you come across an offer from a real business, check their website and other digital job boards for the same posting. When you’re unable to find the opportunity anywhere else, it’s a clear indication the offer could be fake.

2. What’s the Position?

The BBB warns that generic job titles like “caretaker” and positions that do not require licensing or training are often the target of scammers. These jobs may also attract a wider net of applicants looking for work.

The BBB also cites work-from-home, package reshipment and secret shopper positions as common illegitimate job offers.

3. Is There an Interview Process?

Do not accept a position without an official interview. Whether it’s over the phone or video, there should be a legitimate hiring process in place. Some job scam victims have reported doing phony interviews through Google Hangouts, so watch out for the use of this platform.

4. Analyze the Job Description

Read the job description carefully, looking for big claims like “unlimited earning potential”. Another warning sign, watch out for any spelling or grammatical errors.

While some companies are looking to hire quickly during the current pandemic, hiring the right candidate takes time. Be wary of an intense sense of urgency to fill a position.

Lastly, an offer that seems too good to be true probably is. Check that the job description, salary and benefits are in line with other positions in the industry.

5. Look Out for Upfront Fees

You should never have to send a payment with your employment application, pay processing or training fees, nor provide your Social Security or bank account number before you’re hired. Another red flag is having to buy equipment and supplies yourself.

Additional Steps You Can Take

If you feel unsure about an employment opportunity, research the company and name of the person who contacted you. Oftentimes, if you request a phone call or video conference before accepting a fake position, the scammer will suddenly stop responding to you.

A legitimate recruiter will provide you a complete contract to review before you’re hired. For more information on employment scams and how to report one, contact the BBB.

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