Local News

Attorney general cautions job-seekers to avoid scams

Posted February 17, 2009 12:10 p.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2009 10:33 a.m. EST

— Attorney General Roy Cooper warned North Carolina job seekers Tuesday about employment programs that seem too good to be true.

“Promises of a great new job or a chance to earn thousands of dollars a week working from home can sound tempting, especially if you’ve recently lost your job,” Cooper said. “But watch out for employment scams that will cost you instead of helping you earn money.”

Cooper offered these tips:

  • Check out a company thoroughly before you apply for a job with it. Contact the attorney general’s office and the local Better Business Bureau to find out about a company’s track record.
  • Never pay for information about a work-at-home offer, or for any kind of start-up kit, instructional booklet or list of clients.
  • Avoid applying for jobs where you’re asked to pay an application fee or required to pay for a training course before the job begins.
  • Steer clear of job offers or opportunities that promise you’ll earn a commission by transferring money through your account, cashing checks or working as a secret shopper to test out wire services. These are schemes to steal your money, not legitimate employment opportunities.
  • Be skeptical of employment agencies that guarantee they’ll get you a job.
  • Beware of agencies that charge up-front fees, even if they promise you a refund if you aren’t satisfied.
  • Watch out for job interviews that turn out to be recruitment sessions for pyramid schemes. Employment ads in newspapers or on the Internet are sometimes used to recruit new members into the pyramid. Under North Carolina law, a pyramid scheme is any plan in which a participant pays money for the chance to make money when new participants join the program.

To report a potential scam, file a complaint, or check out a company, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina. You can download a consumer complaint form at the state Department of Justice Web site.