With tens of millions of Americans suddenly out of work, it’s easy to fall for this line: There’s a wonderful job waiting for you. Just fill out this form and send money.

Look out.

Often there’s no real job. It’s a scam. Phony offers snag thousands, warn regulators and employment pros.

You Could Be a Target or a Victim

“These scams are everywhere. Job scams are the number one scam nationally because they affect some many people. Male, female, the old; the young,” says Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for the Metro New York region.

Hand Over $1,500

Indeed, the “median dollar loss to consumers through 2019 was some $1,500, up from $1,204 in 2018,” according to BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. In the same period, employment scams in the Metro New York region went from third to second in the top scam categories.

These scams, says another expert, take many forms.

“For example, a company reaching out, sometimes just wants to make contact with a candidate so they can hit their own metrics or to obtain additional leads,” says Jason Deneu, with Robert Half Technology.

Other times, a job seeker is conned into handing over money.

“Employers and employment firms shouldn’t ask you to pay for the promise of a job,” according to the Federal Trade Commission.

What’s a Fraud?

How can one identify a fraudulent job offer?

“If the person reaching out can’t offer any true insight into the role, or share the company name, then be leery,” Deneu says. “Always do some research on these companies; look them up on line, check with state authorities that they really exist,” adds BBB’s Rosenzweig.

And here are some other Better Business Bureau red flags.

*Job offers from strangers.

If someone offers you a job without getting an application from you first, meeting you, or doing an interview, it’s a scam.

*High pay for simple work.

Be wary if ads, emails, or callers promise to pay a lot of money for jobs that don’t seem to require much effort, skill, or experience. Usually such offers turn out to be a scam.


Gregory Bresiger
Gregory Bresiger

Gregory Bresiger is an independent financial journalist from Queens, New York. His articles have appeared in publications such as Financial Planner Magazine and The New York Post.