SEATTLE — Did an offer for your dream job just drop into your inbox?
It sounds like good news, but if you did not formally apply for the position yourself, this is a red flag that could be part of a scam, according to the Better Business Bureau of Washington (BBB).
BBB reports that an estimated 14 million people are exposed to employment scams every year, with $2 billion in direct losses annually.
Logan Hickle, the BBB's PR and communications manager, said people could unexpectedly receive a message from someone interested in hiring them. It might come through email, text, or even a social media platform.
The most common introduction by the phony recruiter tells you they found your resume online. Hickle said they will tell you they want to interview you, but that will require downloading a messaging app, such as Telegram.
The BBB said the messaging app could be used to send you a contract to fill out and sign which requires a lot of personal information including your name, address, date of birth, and banking information, claiming they need to add you to direct deposit payroll and other company systems.
Avoid employment scams:
- Research the company and position first. You should also search the company name online with the word "scam" included. Search the business name on BBB.org to see any unresolved complaints or negative reviews.
- If an exchange of money upfront is involved, beware. Legitimate companies don’t generally send money to new employees before work is done. They certainly don’t ask you to return funds that you’ve already been paid.
- Protect your personal information. Never provide anyone with your personal information until you are sure you can trust them with it. Do all the necessary research before divulging anything personal. Never let someone pressure you into giving up your personal information because it’s a “now or never” offer.
- If a company is moving too fast and claims they want to hire you without meeting you either virtually or in person, and if they don’t conduct a job interview, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
To search for scams in your community or state, use the BBB Scam Tracker.
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