Got a job without an interview? It’s probably a scam

No matter how good you are at what you do, be suspicious if someone offers you a job without conducting an interview first.

To wrap up National Caregiver Month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning about fake job postings. Even if you are not a caregiver, you should be alert, too - scammers are hunting for job-hungry inattentive victims.

Malicious cyber actors design fake job postings to lure victims into their trap. These scammers are after your money and personal information, so do your homework before applying for a job.

First of all, if you are offered a job without an interview, no matter how good you are at what you do, be suspicious. Scammers might try to convince you they need to urgently fill the position but are out of town, too busy, or have another excuse for not talking to you by phone or in person.

Be aware that staffing agencies and headhunters who approach you will never ask to pay for their services. They are compensated by the companies that are looking for employees. If a placement firm asks you for a fee, walk away.

If someone offers your first paycheck before you even start a job, it is yet another clear sign of a scam. They might say this check is for buying supplies you might need for the job. But later, they will ask you to send part of the money back to them. The check is fake, but by the time the bank realizes it, the scammer already has your money, and the bank will want you to repay the money you withdrew.

"If you get an offer that includes depositing a check and then using some of the money for any reason, that's a scam. Walk away," FTC said.

Check your "recruiter" before giving away any sensitive information. You might find that others have had bad experiences and been scammed by the same people or in a similar way.

Scammers might also lure you by offering an opportunity to be your own boss. They will say that all you need to start your business is to acquire some certificates. You'll end up losing money by paying for useless training, and your credit card might be charged without your permission. So, if someone offers you to earn a lot of money in a short time, it's a scam. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Some scammers might try to convince you that reselling merchandise is an excellent opportunity to earn extra cash. All you have to do is buy luxury products for less than retail prices and then sell them for a bigger profit. The problem is that those products you purchased will never arrive or, if they do, it will be just a package full of junk.

Before you accept a job offer, take these steps to protect yourself from job scams:

  1. Do an online search. Look up the name of the company or the person who's hiring you, plus the words "scam," "review," or "complaint." You might find out they've scammed other people.
  2. Talk to someone you trust. Describe the offer to them. What do they think? This also helps give you vital time to think about the proposal.
  3. Don't pay for the promise of a job. Legitimate employers, including the federal government, will never ask you to pay to get a job. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  4. Never bank on a "cleared" check. No legitimate potential employer will ever send you a check and then tell you to send part of the money or buy gift cards with it. That's a fake check scam. The check will bounce, and the bank will want you to repay the amount of the fake check.

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