As if America’s unemployed don’t have it hard enough, “companies” around the country have started popping up and taking advantage of the job-seeking population. Unfortunately, many of us don’t realize that the job advertisements we are responding to aren’t legitimate postings until it’s too late. By that time, many of these so-called companies have gathered our vital and personal information, and taken advantage of our bank accounts and credit. In today’s day and age, with the popularity of internet and the ease of gaining an individual’s private information, it is important that job-seekers play an active role in spotting scams and reporting them before damage is done to both the job responder and the rest of the job-seeking population.
Craigslist, a popular website dedicated to classifieds for communities across America has become a huge site of interest for such scams, targeting both job and apartment listings. It starts with a false job or apartment post that the internet user responds to. Shortly after your response is sent in, the scammer responds with an e-mail informing you that you qualify for the job and that an interview is wanted. However, before they schedule an interview with you, they inform you that they’d like to collect your credit score and paste a link in the body of the e-mail for you to use to collect that score for free. While these posts say that they don’t want and will not see any of your personal information, the credit score sites they use aren’t legitimate and collect information for the company in question. Below is copied an actual scam e-mail from a company called ISIS Capital, which after a quick web search I found to be on a scam list.
“Thank you so much for your interest in our opening.
I appreciate you contacting us. In case our posting was not clear, a few of the responsibilities of this position are as follows:
: You will be answering the phone and taking messages when applicable
: You will be scheduling the company meetings
: Running errands for the organization for things for example purchasing supplies and making bank deposits.
: You’ll be provided with a firm vehicle.
: Whilst you are running errands, you’ll also be given one of our firm credit card(s) for all company purchases.
You seem quite qualified for the position, and additional so than the other 16 applicants we received resumes from. I would like to take the next step with you. Even so, just before I am able to schedule a formal meeting, my company will call for that you acquire a recent (past 1-2 business days) credit report. We started this due to the fact our company had some bad incidents with prior employees taking advantage of having access to a company credit card.
Both myself along with the provider will prefer it that you use this Credit Report to acquire your check as they are offering the check at zero cost to you (unlike other locations). We also discovered that their scores constantly reported back contain the most accurate data, but feel free of charge to use any service you like.
Once you submit all of the required data, they will show your personal report. Please print it out and save it for your records. Please do not email me the entire report, as it’ll have private content. We can discuss it when we meet in individual. When you have a lower than expected credit score, it’ll never prevent you from a position with us. I had a fairly low score when I started.
Once your finished please e-mail me your phone number that you can be simply reached, and your availability to arrange an interview.
Personally, I am hoping to fill this position with a new friendly face and am searching forward to your quick response.
I.S.I.S Capital – H.R. Dept.”
As noted earlier, it is extremely important that job and apartment hunters alike be vigilant and aware of such scams as these to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Furthermore, sites like Craigslist where these scams are found provide an area for individuals to report scams as a means of policing the site. Take advantage of this ability and report any and all scam companies to Craigslist immediately in order to save yourself, friends, family, and the rest of the honest public the headache of replying to a bogus ad, and possibly becoming a victim of identity theft.
Another great way to spot a scam is to do a little research on the company to which you are replying. There are various sites out there with listings for scams like the one I shared above, and making sure the company you’re replying to isn’t on there will save you time and a huge headache in the long run. One such organization dedicated to protecting honest job and apartment hunters from scams is Flakelist.org, they provide a list of scam companies, as well as provide the opportunity for the public to report new scam companies to them. With these types of resources available, there is no reason not to look into ads before you reply. If the company name isn’t listed in the posting, it will be in the e-mail they reply to you with. Check into it before getting back with them, and if it comes up as a scam or seems at all out of sorts, save your time and simply delete the e-mail.
Additionally, NEVER use any direct link in an e-mail unless you know personally that it can be trusted. Job and apartment e-mail scams use direct links to their credit reporting company (the scam company), and NationalCreditReport.com (2010) reported that this is not an approved credit retrieval method, and that asking individuals to complete credit reports for work over e-mail in this way is not condoned by major credit reporting agencies. The agency goes on to note that if job or apartment hunters need to obtain a credit report for a legitimate job and reason, they should use a reputable outside source and never e-mail the information to any company, agency, or individual you do not know. A legitimate company will have a legitimate means of collecting and evaluating this information.
NationalCreditReport.com (2010). NationalCreditReport.com Issues Consumer Advisory to Warn Consumers About Credit Report Scams Originating From Craigslist.