With the United States unemployment rate being at an all time high of 5.0 as of December 2007, job seekers can not only become desperate, but vulnerable to online scammers. These scammers use a time like this to their advantage and can take job seekers for a disastrous ride including stealing your identity, money from your account, and sending you tons of spam email containing more notorious scams.

First things first: Never pay anyone to gain employment! If you have to pay for information or to register to gain employment with a specific service or company then it's a scam! Having to pay deposits for any reason to gain employment such as paying travel expenses to be interviewed (towards the bottom of the page) is also a scam!

Legitimate employers pay you, not the other way around. -- Alison Doyle
This includes paying for start up kits for work at home businesses, one of the nations top 10 consumer frauds. Chances are you won't make any money following their program, but you will lose more money paying for their outrageous, over priced, home business start-up kits.

Never give out personal information to anyone online or through a fax machine! There are scammers out there posing as companies (even impersonating existing companies) that can skillfully coax a naive job seeker into giving out all the information needed to steal their identity, clean out their bank accounts, apply for massive amounts of credit, and more. Some of these scammers asks for this information claiming it's for a so-called background check, others can steal this info from your resume, some even post fake job postings to gain information. The following can protect you from identity theft, an increasingly common crime in the U.S.:
  • Do not add personal information such as social security numbers, date of birth, etc., to any resume.
  • Never give out personal information online through emails etc.
  • Again never fax personal information to anyone even if you researched the company because this can be a scammer pretending to be an existing reputable company.
  • Research the company in question before giving out any information.
  • If the company appears to be a scam or has scammed you report them to the job board they are posting on, the BBB, the FTC, and to your local police station.

Don't believe the hype!
If you want to work from home and are serious about generating over $150,000 this year, we have the fully automated digital system for you. -- Anonymous website
You won't make thousands of dollars in a short amount of time working from home unless of course you're busy scamming innocent people out of their money. Research online businesses that are hiring if you never heard of them to see if they are legit before giving out any information. You can do a search with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or Google the company to see what you can pull up before making a final decision.
Even employment services can be a scam especially if they are asking you to pay a fee before using their services. Most legitimate employment services are paid by the companies if they hire you or are funded by the government. It is best to use these "free to the job seeker" services as opposed to being scammed by the ones that charge a fee considering you are not guaranteed employment. If you are unemployed the last thing you need to do is waste money on a scam with an already tight budget.

There are scammers out there that even provide phone numbers for more job info that will secretly charge you $19.99 or more (bottom of the page) per minute just for making the phone call. Some even have you call an 800 number then transfer you to another line that charges you outrageous fees per minute. Again do your research if you never heard of the company before calling.

There are ton's of scams out their waiting and preying on job seekers looking for work. These scammers are ruthless and cunning and they don't care anything about your situation the only thing they are focused on is how much they get from you which is usually money. The job market today has given them a large advantage over unaware job seekers.

There are tons of websites out there that discuss in more depth about all kinds of job scams to help you become better aware of these activities so you don't be the next victim. Just type in "Employment Scams" in your favorite search engine to pull up more information.

Be safe Tampa and Happy Hunting!

Samara Bowling

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