With the rise in work-from-home employment roles, there has been an uptick in job scams. These jobs will be advertised in the same way real ones are. They are prevalent on social media platforms and legitimate job sites. The goal of these fraudsters is to get personally identifiable information (PII) under the disguise of pre-employment paperwork. With the information provided in this resource, job seekers can be better prepared to spot these scams and keep their identity safe.

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Fraudsters know that people want to work from home, and they will do whatever they can to capitalize on it. Many times, the role will sound too good to be true. They will claim to make the applicant rich with minimal effort and time commitment. The descriptions tend to be vague and can include receiving products that need to be reshipped or sold to friends and relatives.

Another tactic is claiming that applicants can work on their own schedule or they can be their own boss. These “jobs” can seem very normal, but they ask the prospective employee to pay for certifications or training that is made up to gain PII. Once the payment information is available to the fraudster, they will begin to charge bank accounts or credit cards without consent. Sometimes, fake paychecks are sent out. The scammer will claim that too much money was on the check and request that the employee send money back. To add insult to injury, the check will return and cause more issues.

Another common tactic is posting a job buying high-end items below retail price to resell them to make money. Once a victim pays for the item, it never arrives and the scammer has the banking information they need to complete the scam. Sometimes the job posting won’t even mention reselling, but instead reshipping. Reshipping items should be an immediate red flag. The “job” entails receiving packages to the victim’s home to repackage and relabel them for shipment. When payday comes around, there will be no check or direct deposit. All contact information for the fake company will stop working and the scam will have given fraudsters what they need to commit identity theft. Other things to look for include when an “overpayment” is made on a paycheck and the scammer requests the extra to be given to someone else, if training or certifications cost money, or if an “application” or “placement” fee is charged.

If a job posting or offer feels like it could be a scam, follow these precautions. Talk to a friend about the job listing and details. Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to spot fraud. Never pay for a job. Legitimate employers will not ask for compensation in exchange for a job. Most importantly, research and vet a possible employer. If someone else has been scammed by a similar company, use caution. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance.

If you feel you have been a victim of fraud you can report suspicious activities to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov, as well as Arvest Bank. In addition, most social media platforms have ways to report user profiles that were either taken over or created with the malicious intent of scamming people.