Beware of Work From Home Job Scams
The pandemic has forced many employees to work from home. As companies get comfortable with remote workers, the market is offering more work from home job opportunities. This changing hiring landscape will help many job seekers, but it also provides fraudsters a chance to take advantage of people. If you're job hunting in this new environment, how do you know if a job posting for a remote position is legitimate?
The Federal Trade Commission shared a video with things to look out for. We’ve highlighted some of their suggestions below.
Research the Company
If you saw a job posting on social media or a job board, do some searching to learn more about the business. Can you find their website? Is the job posted there, too? If not, consider giving them a call to confirm that they are hiring.
Does the business website seem real, or like it was created overnight? Look for consistencies in design and remember that red flags include typos or messaging that doesn’t quite make sense.
Can you find anything about the company elsewhere on the internet? Look for reviews of the product or services they provide as well as reviews from current or former employees.
Upfront Fees are a Scam
This is probably the biggest red flag. If a job offer is legitimate, they will NEVER ask for you to pay for anything – background check, travel, equipment, or otherwise. While you may have to provide bank account information for direct deposit, that will come after the hiring process is 100% complete and you are an employee.
You should never have to provide credit or debit card information. If a company representative requests something that seems out of line, ask the purpose of providing the information. Even if they “compromise” and say you don’t have to provide credit card info or pay fees, pay attention to those red flags. They may try to charge you later or dock your pay for these fees that were previously waived.
Overpayment is a Red Flag
Sometimes scammers aren’t necessarily trying to steal YOUR money; they’re trying to launder THEIR money. This means that they are trying to cover up the original source of the funds. You may get hired for a job, do the work, and get paid – only you were paid too much and suddenly need to return a portion of the payment.
By having you send money back, they can now attribute those payments to you if they are audited. If this happens to you, decline the request to send money back and break ties with this company. If they have your personal information and you’re concerned about retribution, contact your bank and the credit bureaus to alert them to the scam. You may also consider reporting the company to the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission.
Just for the record, accidents DO happen, and overpayments are possible! A legitimate company would talk to you about the overpayment and negotiate a way for the extra payment amount to be noted and docked from a future paycheck. Still, if this becomes a regular occurrence, it’s a red flag.
If you have any doubts about a job listing, trust your intuition. Ask for advice from friends or family, and see what they think about the company’s credibility. Above all else, when there are red flags, let the opportunity go and keep looking for the right job for you! Check out our other fraud resources for more on protecting yourself from scams.