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Three Ways Scammers Trap Job Seekers
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
August 2, 2012
joblessness persists and economic pressures mount, work-at-home
scammers enjoy a “perfect storm.” Here are three ways con
artists trap the unwary job seeker, and how you can avoid being a
THE BACKSTORY: DESPERATION AND LAGGING ENFORCEMENT
It’s easy to see why scammers are thriving. Seventy-nine million
boomers are headed for “golden years” that look
increasingly like they’re made of iron pyrites
(“fool’s gold”). New college graduates stagger under
debt fueled by hefty 7.5 per cent annual surges in educational costs,
but salaries haven’t risen in 20 years. The middle class overall
feels the frightening hand of social descent clawing at its clothes.
Meanwhile, consumer watchdogs are muzzled by pre-Internet budgets,
which don't take into account the international horde of criminals
swarming into homes and offices through the unguarded gates of the web.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY: POPULAR SCAMMER TACTICS
Since the tight economy and weak consumer protection will probably be
with us for awhile, “knowing thine enemy” has never been
more important. Here are three popular tactics that con men use to
fleece the unwary looking for home-based jobs.
1. Using resumes on job boards for tailored come-ons:
When job seekers post their resumes to CareerBuilder and similar career
sites, scammers find everything they need to bait their hooks. The
result? You soon receive an email offering you exactly the kind of
home-based job you were looking for. The only problem is, it’s
Be especially wary if you’re looking for administrative work.
Scammers often target resumes of those seeking data entry or other
popular administrative jobs. This allows them to spam a larger group
with the same come-on. This category of job seeker is also most
frequently fed into “boiler rooms” – call centers
specializing in high-pressure sales tactics, selling pricey
“business coaching services” with kickbacks to the
To protect yourself, be extremely suspicious of any unsolicited job
offer arriving in your inbox. Legitimate work-at-home jobs are in high
demand, and employers don’t need to send out unsolicited offers.
Red flags also include high pay for little work, non-corporate email
addresses (Gmail, Hotmail, etc.), and claims that no experience is
2. Front-loading search results to hide negative reviews and comments.
Scammers know that many job seekers will research their job leads to
see what others may have said. So they pay people to post glowing
reports of their con games and dubious products, and use search engine
optimization techniques to have these comments appear first in search
For example, the bogus comments will use phrases that job seekers
themselves are likely to use, such as “Is xyz company a
scam?” When job seekers find these positive “reviews”
clustered on the first pages of their search results, most will look no
further, little realizing they’ve been had.
For protection, check such work-at-home forums as WAHM.com or
WorkPlaceLikeHome.com. (Though again, since the occasional bogus
comment can’t be ruled out, take all remarks with a grain of
salt.) You can also check to see if the employer or job appears in the
screened leads on our own site, RatRaceRebellion.com.
3. Late-night infomercials and radio ads for home-based “opportunities.”
Beware infomercials touting quick wealth through “ecommerce web
sites” or “trading on eBay.” Often, the come-on
showcases a low-priced book, but the transaction is just a ploy to get
your contact information, hit your credit card with surprise monthly
charges, and throw you to the boiler-room wolves. Similar ads are now
cropping up on radio, too, often involving pyramid-marketing schemes.
There are hundreds of legitimate home-based jobs and projects opening
up every day. For the time being, however, TV and radio ads are bad
bets for reliable home-based work.
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM