If you’re looking for a remote job, you might be interested in companies that support a cause. But scammers know that and use your interest to draw you in. If, for example, you’re an LGBTQ+ person or ally, a job that says you can “help LGBTQ+ people in need from the comfort of your own home” might sound great. But what happens if you take that next step?
Based on reports to the FTC, that LGBTQ+ non-profit looking to “hire fast” could be using common interest to build trust with you. If you’re invested in their cause, they hope you’ll be more willing to give personal information before they’ve told you anything about the job. Or you’ll be willing to deposit that check they sent you for “equipment costs” — and send some of the money on to someone else, or back to them. (These are both big signs of a scam.)
So how do you avoid job scams and spot phony job listings? Before you accept a job offer:
- Look up the company online. Search the name of the employer plus words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” What do others say? If you see complaints about fake checks, employees not being paid, or other fraud, walk away.
- Don’t share personal information. Don't give the employer any personal information — like your Social Security number or banking information — until you've looked into the company and confirmed that the offer is legit.
- Don't pay for a job opportunity. Honest employers won’t ask you to pay up front fees for a job. If they insist the payment needs to be through something like a wire transfercryptocurrency or payment app (think CashApp, Venmo, or Zelle), that’s even more proof that it’s a scam. These methods make it almost impossible to get your money back, which is why scammers insist you pay that way.
- Never trust a “cleared” check. If your new “employer” sends you a check and tells you to send some money back due to “overpayment” — that’s a scam. The check will eventually bounce, and the bank will expect you to pay back the full amount.
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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This is good sound advice. I’ve wanted remote jobs but almost most of them are nothing but scams! I’m still trying hoping to land a legitimate job soon.