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CONSUMER ALERT: New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection Offers Job Seekers Tips to Avoid Employment Scams

For this week’s “Tuesday’s Tips,” the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is warning job seekers to avoid common employment scams. Job scams have been a growing problem in recent years. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of reported scams for business and job opportunities quadrupled from 2018 to 2022, and in 2022 consumers lost 75% more money from business and job opportunity fraud compared to the prior year. Examples of what a job scam can look like are available here. Follow the New York Department of State on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and check in every Tuesday for more practical tips that educate and empower New York consumers on a variety of topics. Sign up to receive consumer alerts directly to your email or phone here.

“Employment scams are becoming more and more of a problem as nefarious scammers continue to leverage pandemic and economic stress to take advantage of job seekers, said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “To minimize the risk of falling victim to an employment scam, I encourage you to follow our tips, take precautions during your job search and learn the warning signs so you can recognize the difference between a real employment opportunity and a scam.”

As you navigate the job market, use the following tips to avoid job scams and fraud.

Be wary of potential employers who:

  • Want personal information prior to an interview.
  • Offer to hire you without an interview or meeting.
  • Only communicate via text message or messaging app.
  • Charge up-front placement fees or impose other charges or fees as a condition of your employment.
  • Ask you to transfer, receive and/or deposit money or receive/send packages (especially from outside the United States).
  • Ask you to download any applications.
  • Do not provide a job description or cannot describe the position about which you are inquiring.

Protect your personal information: Never give out personal information (such as your social security number, date of birth or bank account information) to potential employers until you know the opportunity is legitimate. 

Research organizations before applying: Scammers often promote non-existent job opportunities. To verify a job posting is legitimate, go to the company’s official website to confirm the employment opportunity exists. If you don’t see the job posting on their site, call the company directly to confirm. 

Watch out for “too good to be true” offers: Be wary of postings for high-paying and fully remote jobs requiring “no resume” or “no experience.” Always ask questions about the role and take the time to ask questions and confirm details outlined in the job description. Scammers often dodge questions or provide vague answers to pressure you to comply with their requests.

Don’t pay for the promise of a job: Never send money for the promise of landing a job. Legitimate employers or recruiters will never ask candidates to pay to get a job or for a background check. 

Beware of check cashing scams: If a potential employer sends you a check instructing you to deposit it and send part of the money back to them, do not deposit that check. This is a scam. 

Confirm contact methods: Make sure email communications match the company’s official website and domain. Scammers often pose as a real company using unaffiliated or personal phone numbers and emails. 

Use secure and reputable sites when searching for jobs online: The following links include some reliable sources to start or continue your job search.

  • New York State Department of Labor includes resources for job seekers in New York including training opportunities, job openings, and civil service exam information.
  • USAJobs.gov includes job openings nationwide.
  • CareerOneStop lists job openings and employment training programs in each state. The United States Department of Labor sponsors this site.
  • USA.gov includes links to county and local government websites which can list any local open positions or civil service exams available.

About the New York State Division of Consumer Protection

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides resources and education materials to consumers, as well as voluntary mediation services between consumers and businesses. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.

For other consumer protection tips and consumer alerts, consumers can visit the DCP website or follow DCP on social media via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.