Ms. Yolanda Burnett is the program coordinator for JEVS Career Solutions for 55+, where she provides mature Philadelphia workers with professional job readiness workshops, one-on-one job coaching and advocacy.
For more information on how Ms. Burnett and JEVS can help you, register for our next free Information Session. Sessions are held every Friday at 11:00 AM. via Zoom videoconference. See our events page to RSVP for an upcoming session.
What is a Job Scam?
Job scams prey upon people searching online sites for new jobs. The scammers behind them look to swindle people by means of fraud, intimidation and deception. They are usually trying to gain access to your personal information, your money or your bank account or credit card data.
Recently, I spoke with a 55+ participant and she shared with me her personal experience of a job opportunity fraud. She also asked if I could warn other seniors to keep their eyes open for these predators. Based on our conversation, below you will find a list of common questions and answers on how to identify and avoid job scams.
How Can I Recognize a Job Scam?
Job scams can be found on any job search website, such as Indeed.com, Monster.com, LinkedIn and Facebook. A scammer’s goal is to get something from you, most likely your money. Unfortunately, their most desired targets are seniors 55 years old and older. Scammers are also relying on the rise in unemployment rates because of COVID-19.
Job scammers are very cunning, they’re aware that individuals are eager to find permanent employment. Therefore, they believe that most are desperate to get a job and as a result, they’re out hunting, and the bait is to provide you with a grand illusion of the perfect job. That being said, be sure to remember the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!” Keep that thought in mind when applying for jobs. If the job seems to good to be true, it just might be a scam!
How Can I Avoid Being Scammed?
Double check the ad, and do research! Keep an eye out for unclear job descriptions, misspellings, or ads without contact information. Watch closely for email addresses with misspelled or “spoofed” company names, like company.net instead of company.com. Legitimate companies have websites — check them out! If a website cannot be found, the job opportunity may not exist. A company that does not a website is a big red flag!
Avoid job ads that ask for money, such as for credit card or bank information, asks you to open an account, and of course stay far away from any listing that asks you to pay for a job or job lead. A legitimate employer will never ask you for money. Never send an employer your banking information! Likewise, steer clear of ads that offer to pay you for work you have not performed.
Avoid the work-from-home scam, especially if they want you to pay for “training materials”: Work-at-home job opportunity scams are advertised as “paid work from home.” After the job seeker applies, they are asked for money to pay for materials necessary for the position. After the seeker pays, they hear nothing back from the scammer. Note that in this day and age, legitimate jobs may allow you to work from home — they will usually use the term “temporarily remote.”
Avoid job promises: No one can promise you a job. Everyone knows that obtaining a job is a process. Below are some commons steps of the hiring process:
- Completion of an official application.
- A response from the employer either via email and/or telephone.
- A contact person with a telephone number in which he/she can be contacted (avoid 1-800 numbers).
- An interview (face to face and/or virtual).
- An official job offer letter on company letterhead.
Avoid job ads that indicates “no experience necessary.” Most legitimate employers will request to see your work history and skills-sets even if they’re offering training.
Avoid job ads that use scam key words, such as:
- Act fast!
- Money-back guarantee!
- Start now!
- We promise you a job!
Note: If you have been a victim of a job scam by sending money and got no help, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or Go online: ftc.gov/complaint. You can also contact the PA State Attorney General at: www.attorneygeneral.gov/index.html. For additional support and resources contact the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging helpline at 215-765-9040.
I hope that you’ve found these tips to be enlightening and informative. If you have any questions, need support with your résumé, job leads and professional career coaching, please feel free to contact me about our free services (generously funded by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging–PCA):
Yolanda Burnett, Program Coordinator for JEVS Career Solutions for 55+
Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, JEVS Career Solutions for 55+ program understands that finding a job can be frustrating. However, we’re pleased to report that employers are hiring! Therefore, we encourage you to be patient, pace yourself and seek professional support. Also, continue to connect with positive people who are on the same journey as yourself.