The most recent unemployment figures show a small decline in the number of jobless Americans; however, the national rate continues to hover around 10 percent. Separate reports also reveal the number of individuals who, as of December 2010, have been unemployed for more than a year increased from 25 to 30 percent. And now, job seekers are finding they have more to worry about than the state of the economy: online employment scams.
A large number of employment scams popped up following the economic crisis of 2008 that led to millions of layoffs, and the crime does not seem to be slowing down. Recent data compiled by AOL shows one in 33 individuals has experienced a job scam at some point in their employment search, namely online advertisements that request the user to pay a fee in advance, AOL reports. Recent graduates and young adults who have little job experience or are applying for their first position can be especially vulnerable to fake employment scams.
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There are a number of precautions job seekers can take to protect their personal information and avoid falling victim to these scams. Individuals should begin by doing additional research on the position they are seeking and the company offering the job. This is especially true for job seekers who find postings on Craigslist and other websites. Consumers should consider investigating the company on the Better Business Bureau website to determine its legitimacy.
Consumers should watch for certain red flags that exist in most job scams. For example, listings that ask for personal account information or require applicants to pay a fee are likely illegitimate. Individuals should also make sure the company or contact person is listed in each job posting, AOL reports. Do not respond to advertisements that give no information about the business or what job functions they perform. Additionally, make sure the salary being offered correlates with the job duties and responsibilities. In more cases than not, if the ad seems too good to be true, it probably is.