5 On Your Side

Job seekers beware online scams

Posted March 1, 2010

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— Online job seekers should beware: Scammers are using job postings to steal people's money and identity.

Nicol Morock constantly scans the Internet for job openings. But recently, she came across posters who wanted more than than her resume.

The replies she got from them seemed encouraging. "Thanks for sending your resume," read one reply. "I must say it's quite impressive. It was a pleasure reading it. After reviewing 21 applications, that were received, yours was by far the most impressive."

Job seekers beware online scams Job seekers beware online scams

Morock described her thoughts at reading that response: "Awesome. Great. I have a shot at a job, and the pay is good."

But then, Morock got another e-mail telling her to go to a specific Web site to get her credit report. She quickly realized it was a scheme to get her personal information.

"I was so mad that day," she said.

Craigslist posts warnings about the scam, but Morock said she worries that many people don't pay attention.

"I just decided to call you (WRAL's 5 on Your Side) because I don't know how many people are trusting these people," she said.

Beverly Baskin, head of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina, said there are plenty of scammers trying to take advantage of job seekers.

"Anytime there's any sort of human suffering, scammers are there to take advantage of it," Baskin said.

She gave tips on how to spot a scam.

"Any legitimate employer is not going to ask you for your credit card information," she said.  "They're certainly not going to ask you for your Social Security number before they've made a legitimate offer. Now, yes, an employer's gonna need your Social Security number but not in the first exchange of an e-mail."

Morock said she now doesn't look at a job unless the company is named and she can verify the posting on the company's Web site. She encouraged other job hunters to do the same.

"I want people to know not to trust these things," she said. "If they see a red flag, no matter how much you might need that job, don't trust it."

Also watch out for a guarantee of a job after you pay for expensive training materials or some sort of up-front fee. You should never have to pay to work.

Always check out a company. A quick search on the Better Business Bureau's Web site or a Google search can often reveal a lot about a company.

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