Steering clear of job scams

Tips to avoid employment scams:

•Beware of employers who ask for money upfront for training or materials. Employers should pay you; you shouldn’t pay them.

•Be cautious of placement services that guarantee to find you a job. Consumers have had difficulty collecting on such guarantees.

•Check out companies with the Better Business Bureau or on the Web. Sometimes a simple Google search can yield complaints about job scams.


•Do not cash unsolicited checks that arrive in the mail. These checks are often fraudulent and will bounce, causing consumers to incur bank fees.

•Be careful with placement agencies that direct you to call a toll-free number. Sometimes, these companies can transfer you, without your knowledge, to a number that charges a fee.

•Follow up with the corporate offices of any company listed in an ad by an employment service to find out if that firm is really hiring.

•Be wary of firms promoting “previously undisclosed” federal government jobs. All federal positions are announced to the public.


•Do not give out your credit card or bank account information over the phone unless you are familiar with the company and have agreed to pay for something.

Sources: Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. attorney’s office