Employment Fraud: 6th Most Reported Scam of 2009


The National Consumers League (NCL), a Washington DC-based consumer watchdog, has reported that employment fraud was the 6th most reported scam in 2009 and is continuing to gain momentum due to the high unemployment rate.  These scams typically target those looking for work by asking them to provide personal information to run a background check or guaranteeing a job for an up front placement cost.  For those already struggling to make ends meet while unemployed, unknowingly falling victim to one of these scams is just another kick to the gut.

Consumers looking for work need to be very careful during their job hunt.  The following article details the types of scams currently making the rounds and how to spot them.  Just remember: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Employment Fraud on the Rise

Scammers ‘guarantee’ better resume, new job for $5,000

By Evan Binns, St. Louis Business Journal – 02/21/2010

Carolyn, who has been unemployed since November, was thrilled when she opened an e-mail regarding a recent job application she filled out for a local medical administration assistant opening.

The e-mail wasn’t from the potential employer, but a third party identifying itself as a pre-screening service. It claimed that Carolyn needed to complete a background check, and include her Social Security number, in order to proceed with her application.

Carolyn was suspicious that the request came from a company other than the potential employer, so she called her friend Cynthia Dodson, vice president of career consulting and services at Right Management, who immediately flagged the e-mail as a possible scam.

According to a recent report by the National Consumers League (NCL), a Washington, D.C.-based consumer watchdog, the struggling economy has led to a significant rise in the number of employment-related scams.

“This year we saw a spike in complaints related to bogus business opportunities,” said John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud at the NCL.

Recession-fueled employment scams, which include fraudulent franchises and distributorships, were listed as the sixth most reported scam in 2009 by the NCL’s annual report. Employment fraud totaled 2 percent of all scams tracked nationally.

In 2008, employment fraud did not even make the list of top 10 fraudulent activities