In this continuing soft economy it is difficult enough to find work with so many obstacles to overcome: many, many applicants for every one job opening, long (unprecedented) duration of unemployment for millions of workers, and frankly, the sheer lack of sufficient job openings. But now job seekers have another problem to contend with: employment and unemployment insurance-related scams coming to your inbox, over the phone and in ads listed on popular job boards.
Over the weekend a Colorado job seeker applied for a job posted on Craiglist for a ‘Data Entry Person’ in Denver:
Data Entry Person (Denver)
Date: 2012-05-16, 1:47PM MDT
Reply to: email@example.com [Errors when replying to ads?]
Data entry off of standardized source documents. Proof and check work for accuracy. Correct mistakes. 5,000 keystrokes/hour. Perform tasks with supervision. Working knowledge of data entry devices such as numeric keypad, and computer keyboard. Familiarity with computers and/or an automated input environment.
- it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
- Compensation: $11.00/hr
Today the job seeker received the following email in response to their ‘application’ email which indicates that the employer has received emails from many applicants but that resumes are not being accepted online for ‘security reasons’. The email, which is included below also indicates that this employer is ‘still looking to fill the position and interviews are still being conducted’.
The employer, who is identified in the email only as an individual [insert name here].’
writes that all applicants “must confirm a few requirements prior to moving forward. First we offer health and life insurance as part of our employment benefit package that we offer to all of our new hires and applicants” and then directs the applicant to fill out the online inquiry forms designed not for persons interested in finding a job, but rather for persons interested in purchasing a life insurance policy and in receiving quotes for the purposes of purchasing an individual health insurance policy.
Here is a copy of the email:
Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 16:22:12 -0500
Subject: Re: data entry position
Thank you for expressing interest in our available position.
As mentioned in the job posting, this position offers a generous starting wage, plus a full benefit package, as well as periodic pay increases and advancement opportunities. This is a full-time (40 hours per week) position. Each employee’s starting hourly wage will be based on his or her experience level, which will be determined once the recruiting process has been completed. Experience working in a similar environment is helpful, but not required, as fully paid training is provided.
At this time due to many applicants we are still looking to fill this position and interviews are still being conducted. We are not accepting resumes through email because of security reasons but we would still like to advance you forward onto the next step.
We are now bringing you to the next step within the hiring process. You must confirm a few requirements prior to moving forward. First we offer health and life insurance as part of our employment benefit package that we offer to all of our new hires and applicants.
You can fullfill requirements below right now:
Life Insurance Application: www.preferredlifeinsurance.info
Health Insurance Application: www.qualityhealthinsurance.info
Please fulfill the requirements above and confirm that you are finished by sending an confirmation email back so we can proceed.
Have a fantastic day,
This is just one example of the predatory tactics taken by many whose intentions are solely to take advante of unemployed Americans who are desperately searching for work – and the scammers do this through various means, including the posting of fictitious job ads on popular job boards such as the one above which is currently listed on Craigslist.
In a much more detailed report, Robert Anglen at AZCentral.com reported on many different scams in his May 12 report titled, ‘Be wary of some online job offers’ in which he writes,
With positions scarce and competition fierce, most experts agree that posting a resume online is a critical step for many job hunters.
But posting a resume exposes job seekers to companies whose employment offers and interview opportunities can mask commission-only positions, multilevel marketing pitches and come-ons for purchases.
Authorities also warn that as state and national unemployment rates hover above 8 percent, consumer frauds targeting job seekers continue to flourish, particularly online. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office points to questionable online offers that pitch “work-at-home” opportunities, expose job seekers to phishing scams and guarantee placement as long as prospective employees buy their training products.
Anglen, who is part of the ‘Call 12 For Action’ investigative team describes several scams involving ads posted on CareerBuilder, Monster.com and Jobing.com
It is highly recommended that you read his entire report, ‘Be wary of some online job offers’ which can be found here. Also, additional information about how to report internet job scams is found at the end of this article.
On April 26, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment issued the following
‘News and Alert’ bulletin, warning claimants in Colorado of another potential scam – this one associated with dialing an incorrect phone number when inquiring about unemployment insurance benefits:
April 26, 2012
On April 19th, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) provided information of a potential scam targeting our claimants. Additional information leads us to believe that the claimants targeted by this scam are claimants who are attempting to reach CDLE from outside the Denver-metro area.
The correct number for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program, outside the Denver-metro area is 1-800-388-5515. If the telephone number is entered incorrectly as 1-800-338-5515 you risk exposure to this scam. Upon dialing the incorrect number, claimants have either been directed to an individual claiming to be with CDLE; or later received a call from the number 347-757-5878, from someone stating to be a representative of CDLE. This individual then asks for personal information from the claimant (i.e. social security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name). Additionally, the scammers ask the claimant to purchase a prepaid credit card from Wal-Mart, in order to process their UI claim and begin receiving benefits.
Please be advised that a CDLE representative would never ask you to provide this type of personal information or require the purchase of a pre-paid credit card. If you are asked to provide any of the information above or asked to purchase a prepaid credit card, do not respond and disconnect the call immediately.
Again, please be aware that calls coming from or being made to 347-757-5878 and 1-800-338-5515 may increase exposure to this scam. The correct number for the UI Program, outside the Denver-metro area is 1-800-388-5515.
CDLE is working diligently to identify the source of the scam.
In February, the Colorado Springs affiliate of Fox News Channel 21 reported the following in their ColoradoConnection piece titled, ‘Craigslist scammer rips off job seeker’:
According to police, a scammer posted a job in the customer service section of the Colorado Springs job listing page. A Colorado Springs man e-mailed the poster saying he was interested in the job, which turned out to be a secret shopper job.
He received a check via UPS with instructions to keep his share and forward the rest to another shopper in another state using Western Union Bank. However, the bank returned the check, saying it was fraud. Police said the loss was more than $2,000.
One type of scam appears frequently in the ‘junk mail’ folder and often reads something like ‘THANKS FOR SUBMITTING YOUR JOB APPLICATION’ or ‘PLEASE COMPLETE YOUR ONLINE JOB APPLICATION’ in the subject line, often in all capital letters:
From:Dandre Gomez (firstname.lastname@example.org)Sent:Thu 5/17/12 4:44 PMTo:email@example.com
Thank you for From: firstname.lastname@example.org Bcc: Return-Path: email@example.com Message-ID: X-OriginalArrivalTime: 17 May 2012 22:44:32.0437 (UTC) FILETIME=059B650:01CD347E] Date: 17 May 2012 15:44:32 -0700 submitting your information for potential employment opportunities. We look forward to reviewing your application, but can not do so until you complete our internal application.
The pay range for available positions range from $35.77 per hour to $57.62 per hour. Prior to begin able to be considered, you will first need you to formally apply. Please go here to begin the process:
Also, the following perks are potentially available:
– Paid Time Off
– Health Benefits Package
– Higher than average salaries
– Tuition Reimbursement
– Extensive 401(k)program
Please take the time to follow the directions and complete the entire application process.
Many have been received from a company claiming to be Rock Force Management with the subject line: ‘YOUR JOB APPLICATION: ROCK FORCE MANAGEMENT‘
These are fairly easy to identify as scams (particular this one which contains obvious database errors; others have been received without these obvious errors, making them more difficult to identify) but others, such as the ‘Data Entry Person’ job listed above, are not so easily identified as scams until after you’ve provided your resume and other personal contact information.
Please report these ads when you see them using the Craigslist (or other job board) reporting tools – and to the appropriate authorities at the local Department of Labor if necessary. Obviously, if money somehow become involved and or identify theft issues arise, also contact the local law enforcement authorities.
Allison Doyle at About.com is collecting stories/scam information and is asking for readers to share any scams & related information online:
Readers Respond: Top Internet Job Scams
There are a variety of internet job scams, ranging from fake jobs, to scams that try and collect your personal information, or ask you to send money or make purchases for them. Here’s a list of online scams shared by About.com readers and if you are aware of a scam, please add it to the list.
If you’ve gotten a job scam email, please include as much information as you can — such as the name of the company or contact name and the date of the email. Copy and paste a sentence or two from the email, so that users who search for key phrases will find your posting. Share Scam Information
Bottom line, be careful – and beware. But it’s also extremely important to be diligent in reporting these scams.
Other warnings about labor-related scams, including this one issued by the Montana Department of Labor have been reported around the country.