Consumer Alert: Web Work Scams

The web can be a fantastic took when you’re looking for work. But if you’re not extra careful, the new gig you land could land you in jail. Cyber scammers are targeting job seekers for illegal activity like selling stolen goods, laundering money and wiring money on behalf of a company – all within jobs that may look legitimate but are nearly impossible to verify.

These scams are few and far between, but they are out there. What is more prevalent these days is the threat of cyber crooks that prey on personal information of would-be employees. If you’ve lost a job and are careless when finding a new one, you could lose your money and identity as well.

You’ve heard of ‘TMI,’ or too much information. This is key to avoid in the job search arena, says consumer watchdog Joe Ridout. Never disclose too much in a resume that you post online. Specifically, never post your date of birth, social security number or driver’s license number. Oversharing can leave you open to fraud.

You might have an eye on a work-from-home gig that you find online, but that promise can end up causing you pain. Many of these jobs are fraudulent, Ridout says. It’s one thing to work from home as a consultant in your career field, but stuffing envelopes from your dining room table is not going to support you.

Never seal the deal online, Ridout says. It’s fine to start the begin your job search online but never end it there, for your own safety. Make sure you meet your employer face-to-face for a real interview. And whatever you do, never give your bank account number to a potential employer who asks for it online for direct deposit.

To find out if your prospective employer is in solid shape or not, head to the Better Business Bureau, FTC or Hoover’s.