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Online searching makes it easier to connect with companies offering job opportunities. But you can just as easily connect with scammers who seem to be offering legitimate jobs—including executive positions. But after taking your money, it turns out they offer nothing but empty promises.

The FTC sued a group of businesses and their owner, charging them with deceptively taking thousands of dollars from job seekers who had hoped to get executive-level positions. Using fake emails, websites and corporate names, the businesses and their owner targeted people with executive experience, allegedly tricking job seekers into believing they were strong candidates for certain executive positions. Hopeful candidates paid $1,200-$2,500 upfront for resume and recruiting services. After paying, says the FTC, many job seekers went on interviews—but staged interviews, not real ones. And there weren’t any real jobs, either.

If you’re considering executive search firms (sometimes known as headhunters), or if one comes looking for you, remember these tips to avoid losing—instead of earning—big money:

  • Research the firm. Search the name of the firm online with the words “complaint,” “scam,” or “reviews.” If there are lots of negative comments, do not work with that firm.
  • Get recommendations on executive placement firms from people you know and trust inside your industry.
  • Check out the email address. Though some legitimate individual recruiters use their personal accounts, it may be a safer bet if the email address is linked to an actual company. But run that company name by someone you know and trust.
  • Many legitimate job placement firms get their money from the hiring company, not the applicant. But if you decide to hire your own headhunter, check out the firm before you pay.

Get more information from the FTC on job scams. And if you spot an executive placement or other scam, report it to the FTC at


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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July 05, 2019
Can u get you money back from the original person after u deposited a fake check and u owe back the bank?
FTC Staff
July 05, 2019

In reply to by Ericaritchie96

You could ask the original person to give your money back if they gave you a fake check.

Tina Korn
March 14, 2019
Voice mail messages dozens of times: "Hey there this is Matt and I was trying to follow up with you I've actually been trying to reach you here recently this is actually in regards to the online business that you were interested in where you don't have to talk to anyone and you don't actually have to learn any marketing skills at all to be successful because of that we even have retirees that I have an awesome success not I____want to count you out but this is the final attempt to reach you so if you are serious about finding a real way all____for you and your family to go to bring in a bike figure income every couple weeks then make sure to go to www.fast7K dot com again that's fast seen OK____that's fast spelled SAST the number 7K dot com fast 7k dot com again this is Matt and I hope to talk to you..."
May 29, 2019
Job sacm , i lose my money please help