I am naturally suspicious of anything on the internet.  There are many online predators after many different kinds of rewards: your identity, your money, or maybe even you and your life.   How do you know who you are actually speaking with?  How do you know what they are saying is true? 

Fake jobs in the times of recession are nothing new.  We are climbing out of the economic filth that the wake of Wall Street, banks, real estate, and government buyouts have left behind.  

It’s important to have realistic expectations of what you want the internet to do for you.  How can you tell these things face to face?  How one seeks out this information in person is much of the way one would want to seek out this information on the internet.  The first thing I do when I would like to check out a new business is ask the Better Business Bureau what they know about the company. 

In Person: Find a BBB close to you

Online:  BBB Online Business search  and if I only want to find types of businesses say – staffing or employment agencies, I could search for it here

Also BBB has a pretty interesting blog or you can sign up for info via email. 

If the issue I have with the company is of a safety or compliance issue, I call the respective agency and tell them my concern and ask what information they have regarding the subject. 

If my concern is unfair hiring practices, racial profiling or other equal opportunity issues, I call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Below I have gathered some other potential similar resources.

After reading through what information the BBB has, I can then move forward and see what the local public records reveal about the company.  This could be as simple as searching the public access of your local municipal court.  Often you can find the site to search for your local area with a quick Google search of your county, state + “access case records” or “public access” and sometimes “court view 2000”

Looking a company up on the Secretary of State website will aid in proving the company is in fact a legitimate company.  For example, Minnesota would be found here.  Want to know a company’s official statement but they are avoiding you?  Ask their attorney or listed registered agent. 

When you call you will get the secretary at the attorney’s office remember how angry you may ever be with a company or if you are doing a sales call or anything ALWAYS be nice to the receptionist/secretary. 

The receptionist is the one that is going to get you through.  He/She’s the one that is going to relay your call or not.  Remember, the secretary is not to blame for faulty business practices so take it easy on them. 

 This brings me to another quick point, while you are on the trail or trying to find out information about a company, do not leave your number and have someone call you back.  Whenever possible, always wait but don’t be put on hold too easily.  Be personable and reasonable.  Do not ask the secretary the tough questions.  Save those for who you are trying to reach. 

In the world of staffing, there are many people who work with all of their hearts to facilitate and establish valuable, lasting working relationships between employers and employees.  There are many staffing companies that have and continue to be of great help to the communities and economy in which they serve.  Companies who might not otherwise take the risk of hiring allow temporary agencies to take the risk up front aiding qualified applicants to place in dependable jobs.  Dependable jobs lend to sustainable living and family stability.  Do you have a specific example of how the staffing agency or business within the industry gives back to the surrounding community?  We’d love to hear it! 

Unfortunately, where there is one side of the spectrum, there is the other side.  There are staffing agencies that run much like revolving doors.  Overbearing owners who stroke their egos by blaming and rampaging, staff with poor ethics and undeveloped moral code; yes that is also quite the possibility if you merely thumb through to a random yellow page listing or the first place you may see on the internet. 

What is a huckster?

As it pertains to the staffing industry, a huckster is a business that uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a placement or fictitious placement.

When considering one of those sounds-too-good-to-be-true jobs remember this: if you feel like you are getting sold a timeshare or you get a gut feeling that the job isn’t what you thought it was, walk away. 

Generally people have good instincts and fail to trust their own impressions.  It is easy to have false hope in a down economy or looking at a mountain of bills topped with a foreclosure notice.  It is important to look past that desperation to find the genuine opportunities. 

In closing, here are some simple tips to think about before you apply to a position. 

  • Government or Postal jobs that only have 800/888 numbers have typically been proven to be companies that sell job lists or more seriously, the gather your personal date for use and sale.  If the position has a 1-800 or 1-888 number and you still want to pursue it, ask for their local information (non 800/888)
  • If you reach out to a position and they respond that they have seen your resume prior and need additional personal information, do not respond. 
  • Remember to always look up a business to make sure they are an actual business or they are who they say they are (BBB and SEC are examples).  Scamming hucksters make up names that sound like prominent businesses to lure victims. 
  • An ad can say that the company is a FORTUNE 500 company but unless they are providing a name of this fabulous company, it doesn’t matter much at all. 
  • At home jobs are typically a BUST.  Often they require you to invest upfront money for supplies and promise you will earn the money back times three.  They often pay employees with fake money orders, wire transfers and cashier’s checks.  They obtain your personal identification and use it or sell it as they see fit. 
  • Do not give all of your personal information in your resume.  Only employers need your social security number regardless of what they may tell you.  A social security number is not to be used as an identification number and you have the right to refuse to give your social security number until you are filling out that I-9. 
  • Steer clear of job boards and job sites that make you pay to search their openings.  You should never pay to search for job openings.
  • Avoid the ads that offer unrealistic salaries as they are generally just that: unrealistic. 
  • Remember the good ol’ saying “Better Safe than Sorry” and trust your instincts. 

Think you've been a victim of fraud?  Fill out an online form here

Feb. 24, 2011 the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in connection with the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance and FBI partnered with the National White Collar Crime Center released its Annual Report on Internet Crime.  You can file a complaintpress releases about fraudulent activity on the internet, and annual reports by state.  

BBB SCAM BUSTERS quote   "Know how to detect an “employment” offer from a “business” opportunity. Many folks pay money up front for employment only to find out they are “buying” a business opportunity of their own. They are in no way an employee of anyone and are in reality an independent contractor. While there may be a potential to earn money from some self-employment business opportunities, it is wise to check with the BBB to determine the reputation of those behind the offer. While many can provide income, few are a substantial source for earning a living and your success is often determined by your ability and the marketability of the product or service."

Tags: Trust, Scams, Industry, BBB, Hucksters, Identity, Internet, Secretary of State