Looking for a job?  Look out for Scammers


Scammers might promise you a job, lots of money, or work you can do at home. They might also charge you before they help you.

Did you know you should never pay somebody to help you find a job?

If you pay them, you will lose your money and will not get a job through them.

Joan (the name has been changed to protect the innocent) responded to an ad and set up an appointment at a staffing agency office for a position that was paying at the higher end of her hourly salary requirements.  The position and location sounded perfect for her as described in the ad!

She came into the office, was directed to take tests on her knowledge of MS Office and passed with flying colors. She sat down in an open office with about 20 desks filled with people on the phone and talked with a woman wearing a headset. Joan began to ask questions about the job. As another person walked by, the staffing agency representative called out: “Is the Executive Assistant position still open?”

When the other person said no, it had been filled, the staffing rep then said “Would you like to know about another position located here at our office?”

Disappointed, Joan replied she would be interested. The staffing rep then tried to recruit her for a commission only job calling job ads looking for companies to post their open positions with the staffing firm. She explained that you’d be on the phone on a headset, work 10 hours a day and eat at your desk for lunch but could make six figures with bonuses if the companies you called listed with the staffing firm.
Unfortunately, Joan was the victim of a bait and switch. She had wasted a big chunk of her day coming to the staffing office for a job that did not even exist. She had scheduled child care and spent money on gas to come to the appointment at the staffing agency. What had seemed to be a legitimate position turned into absolutely nothing and was a complete waste of time.

While Joan did not pay money upfront, it was still a scam. 

Protect yourself from job scams by educating yourself and reading the following articles from government agency, consumer protection and job search advice websites.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.


Important tips from Federal Trade Commission:

How do I spot a job scam?

According to Consumer.gov, What to Know and Do, scammers might:

  • Promise you a job
  • Promise you a government job
  • Offer you “the secret” to getting a job
  • Promise that you will make lots of money, especially by working at home
  • Offer you a certificate to improve your chances of getting a job
  • Charge you for their services — especially in advance

How can I avoid a job scam?

  • Never deal with anyone who promises you a job. No one can promise you a job.
  • Do not pay for information about a job. Even if there is a money-back guarantee.
  • Do not deal with anyone who says you have to act fast.
  • Ignore promises to make thousands of dollars working in your own home. Those promises are lies.

Protect Yourself from Bogus Job Offers

  • Beware of unsolicited phone calls
  • Beware of email and text communications
  • Be careful of unsolicited emails from companies requesting personal financial information or asking you to interview using Google Hangouts or Instant Messenger.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Click the Links below for helpful tips to staying safe while job searching.

Protect Yourself: IDES – Illinois Job Link

Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Information – Job Scams

Consumer.gov – What to Know and Do – Job Scams

Review an A-Z list of the most common job scams and tips for how to avoid getting scammed.

I Fell For a Craigslist Job Scam

How to Avoid 5 Major Types of Online Job Scams

10 Signs a Job Is a Scam

Common Job Scams and How to Avoid Them

Top 10 Job Scam Warning Signs


More Information about Frauds and Scams

Report a Job Scam

If you’ve been targeted by a job scam, file a complaint with the FTC.
Call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357

Complaints build cases against scammers. Any information you can provide helps investigators.

As the old expression goes, “Forewarned is forearmed.”  Being armed with good information, you now have the advantage. The above information should set you on the right path for a safe job search.  We hope you will read and refer to it, especially when your “scam antenna” activates.

Good luck!

Assistance With Your Job Search

The workNet DuPage Career Center provides workforce development services to
DuPage County job-seekers and employers — all at no charge.
Check out our website for details! »