Saturday, September 1, 2012

Could You be a Victim of an Internet Job Scam?

by Mary Salvino

There are no desperate situations; there are only desperate people and scammers know it!  Scammers prey upon the fact that people have a hunger to connect with other people and job seekers are desperate and want to believe that they are not being lied to or misled. Unfortunately, those who are most the most vulnerable are those who have identified themselves as ‘long-term’ unemployed or are simply desperate to find a new job.

So, how can you protect yourself from an Internet job scam?  Here are a few tips:

1.   Treat Google and all other search engines as your best friend – If you can’t find the name of the company, a website, or, the name of the person who contacted you, it’s a SCAM!  

2.   If the job posting does not contain a detailed job description, it’s a SCAM!

3.   If the job posting contains errors in spelling or grammar, it’s a SCAM!

4.   If you are offered a job based solely upon your résumé, it’s a SCAM!

5.   If you are asked to participate in an interview via an Internet messenger service, it’s a SCAM!

6.   Know that references work both ways.  Ask for references if you are not sure if the company is legitimate.  Ask for a list of other employees or contractors and contact those people on the list.  If the company is not willing to provide you with references (names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers), it’s a SCAM!

7.   If you are asked to sign a contract/job offer letter that is not encrypted and has been sent to you over the Internet, it’s a SCAM!

8.   If the above-mentioned contract/job offer letter does not conform with typical employment standards legislation, i.e. guidelines regarding the payment of wages, vacation pay rules, guidelines for hours of work, breaks and payment of overtime, etc., it’s a SCAM!

9.   If you are not asked to fill out any of the typical form for employment, i.e. tax forms, pension forms, employment insurance forms, etc., it’s a SCAM!

10.   If you are asked to send money via bank draft, money order, Western Union, or courier, it’s a SCAM!!!

How to Report a Scam:

File a Report with the Internet Crime Complaint Centre
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The Internet Crime Complaint Center accepts online Internet crime complaints. In order to file a report, you will need to provide the following information:
  • Your name, mailing address, and telephone number.
  • The name, address, telephone number, and web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe has or is attempting to defrauded you.
  • Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you have been or may become the victim of fraud.

File a Report With the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
In the United States, The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, collects complaints about companies, business practices, and identity theft. 
  • Toll free hotline:        877-FTC-HELP          (877-382-4357)

File a Report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
  • Toll free hotline:        1-888-495-8501
  • N.B. You can file even if you have not lost any money and/or provided any financial information

File a Report with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

Report the Company to the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Enter the company name or the web site into the Better Business Bureau search box to find out whether there have been complaints and whether the company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau. You can also file your own complaint online. 

Report a Fraudulent Website to Google
If you believe you've encountered a website that is designed to look like a legitimate website in an attempt to steal users' personal information, report it to Google. 

If you suspect that a posting on Craigslist may be part of a scam, send the details to (

Have you ever been a victim of job search fraud or other Internet scam?  Do you have any other tips that should be added to the list above?

Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved. Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog authored by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career that is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. This blog is also dedicated to those who stand a little taller each time they picked themselves up after failing and those who gained the wisdom and humility from those experiences to help others do the same. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at