You’d think that people would have some limitations, but that doesn’t seem to be the case when
it comes to the job market. Despite how many people are struggling to make ends meet, seeking
employment, and just trying to survive the poor economy, it turns out these are exactly the
people that have become targets in a growing trend for scammers. Some of this is due to the
need for the government to demonstrate that we are now in a period of recovery, but for con
artists it has given them a whole new group of vulnerable victims.
When looking at employment statistics, what is reported is that job availability is up 34%. What
they don’t tell you is that companies have been asked to post job openings they never intend to
fill. Actually, according to Labor Statistics, if you look at jobs being filled you will find that
employment is up only 4%. In addition to this, con artists have found easy targets in people that
search the internet daily in the hopes of finding employment. Here’s a report from one of our
readers that shows just how dangerous it can be to use the internet to look for work.
I read your article about being careful when looking for work, but didn’t heed the warnings. You
see, I became desperate to find a job since my unemployment ran out. I had been looking since
getting laid off 1-1/2 years ago, but without unemployment benefits I went into crisis mode. I
looked everywhere and finally turned to the internet for help. There are always job postings
there and many of the listings even say you can even work from home, but still earn good money.
I thought it was worth a shot so I signed up on several sites and even answered a couple of ads
on Craigslist. What I failed to remember was that each time an application is filled out enough
personal information is given away to result in identity theft along with losing whatever money
you have left. This is what happened to me. One of the Craigslist job postings responded saying
I would be perfect for a position they had and that I could even work from home yet make the
same pay I had been making before the layoff. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of information
about the company itself, another error on my part, and was told that if I wired a nominal fee
and emailed a complete resume and application they would send all the materials needed to get
me started right away. I know anyone reading this thinks “What an idiot! Of course this is a
scam.” However, when desperation sets in, a person is willing to go to almost any lengths to
resolve the crisis and I fell for it. The result was that on the application they had enough
information to become me and through the wire transfer they had my banking information.
Before I knew it I was getting calls from creditors for cards I didn’t have, by bank account was
empty, what little credit I had was ruined, and my social security was messed up so bad I may
not have any left by the time I get old enough to retire. The one thing I learned is that as a job
hunter I am responsible for ensuring the job posting and company are legitimate, that
applications provide con artists with all the information needed to become you, and that there is
no way to undo the damage once your identity is stolen. I just thought your readers might be
interested in knowing that when you become desperate, take a moment to think things through
carefully because it could cost you everything if you don’t.
Although the internet has opened the possibility of communication to the world, it is important to
remember that the more we rely on it, the more vulnerable we become to scammers. Scammers
work on the theory that it is much like fishing; cast the net and once the fish are caught they can’t
get back out. There’s no doubt that job hunting is difficult even under the best of circumstances
and scams come in various guises that are easy to fall for. Additionally, no organization is
exempt from being used as a front as was found in the USPS scam. When placing any personal
information on the web always use caution because once your information goes viral there’s no
way to get it back.