When people are out of work and worried about how to pay the bills, they can be easy prey for scam artists who promise to help them find jobs. Many of these scams involve companies pretending to have inside knowledge about available employment, but they aren't set up to help you find work. Their purpose is to take advantage of desperate job-seekers and make money off them.
Scams May Charge for Common Knowledge
Most scam employment offers advertise that they'll point you to available jobs for a fee. Often, the jobs they tell you about are already common knowledge, either advertised in print publications or posted on the Internet.
In other words, these scammers are repackaging something that's free and charging for it. Some go a step further and offer generic pamphlets, tips, and assistance in qualifying for the job in addition to a list of available jobs. A legitimate employment service will spend time with a client. It will offer exclusive lists and customized job-seeking services.
Scams Rarely Deliver
When you agree to pay for scam employment services, you may or may not receive anything in exchange for your money. At best, you might receive a printout of information that's already available somewhere else. At worst, you'll receive vague or incomplete information that doesn't really help you - or nothing at all. You could lose your money and never hear from the company again.
Scams Share Common Methods
Your best option is to recognize and avoid employment scams. Any company that asks for money before it will hire you or point you to a potential employer is probably not legitimate. Internet postings or newspaper ads that offer free guidance for getting a federal or postal job are often scams. Ads that invite you to call 900 numbers are often suspect, as are any promises for work-from-home employment or quick, easy money.
The FTC Can Initiate Lawsuits
Employment scams are against the law. If you fall victim to an employment scam, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC investigates consumer complaints to find out if the companies are legitimate or are taking consumers' money for nothing.
However, the FTC can't actually charge the company with an offense. It can only file a lawsuit that lets a court decide the matter. Even if you win, you may not get your money back. The FTC can also shut the company down until its investigation is complete or the lawsuit is decided.
An Employment Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding employment scams is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an employment or criminal lawyer.