Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Tips to Avoid Job Search Scams 

Beginning a job search can be a daunting task. As the search for employment becomes increasingly more competitive, the number of employment service firms and online search engines continues to grow. In order to avoid job search scams, remember the following tips before beginning your search:

  • Be wary of any employment service or job advertisement that guarantees employment; research the service and the job before paying any service fees or giving out any personal information.
  • Although some employment services firms promise you your money back unless you are hired, read their contract carefully. Some refunds may be conditional. Make sure you understand the terms of the contract and any refunds mentioned before signing it.
  • Do some research on employment firms to learn about their credibility before entering into any agreement with them. The Better Business Bureau's website (www.bbb.org) can assist you in researching these firms.
  • Be careful when utilizing on-line employment services; as with all Internet transactions, security is a concern. In order to avoid identity theft, only give out your personal information to credible and secure sites.
  • If an advertisement or employment service claims to be a consultant, inquire further into their services; often these consultants charge a fee and only assist you in finding job listings.
  • Be wary of any claim regarding "undisclosed employment" opportunities, especially positions in the federal government. All federal government positions are publicly announced.
  • Be careful when calling an advertised toll-free number for job search assistance; often, these services direct you to call another non-toll-free number or are just an attempt to sell you job listings.

To help find the right employment assistance for you, make sure to research employment agencies, only divulge your personal information to secure websites and trusted companies, be wary of "absolute guarantees" and inquire into and compare the services of more than one agency for your employment search needs. Also, be sure to check the web for free job search outlets.

For further information about job search scams, you can visit the FTC's "job scam website" at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/moneymatters/jobs-hunting-scams.shtml.

If you feel that you may already be the victim of a job search scam, you contact the Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.