Unfortunately, one thing you can usually count on are a few bad apples willing to take advantage of the rest of us. This fact has recently reared its ugly head within the public workforce system, especially within job hunting, where we've found entities posing as legitimate employers trying to scheme unsuspecting job seekers out of opportunities, money, and ultimately trust. Trust and integrity in the public workforce system, and WorkInTexas.com, are things we take very seriously and we have dedicated resources to tracking and identifying the scheming entities, working with our own internet security department, our own internal fraud investigations unit, the State Attorney General's Office, local authorities, and even the FBI.
These schemes have been found not only in Texas but also in Arizona, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin that we know about. They are not stealing identities or personally identifiable information (PII), rather they are pretending to be employers contacting job seekers by email or text message and offering them jobs, sight and credentials unseen, asking that they either provide bank account information, send money, or cash checks. Thankfully most have resulted only in calls and emails making us aware of the schemes, but even so we want to take all opportunities to educate you about these situations and provide tips on how to protect yourself. The bottom line will always be…if it feels too easy or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, here are a few more concrete tips to keep you safe.
How to stay safe when job hunting
- Don’t believe that an employer will hire you sight-unseen and/or credentials not validated.
- Don’t give anyone, especially someone claiming to be an employer, your bank account number/information.
- Don’t cash checks from anyone claiming to be an employer if you’re not sure you’re actually employed yet.
- Note the name of the entity whose check you received (it should always match the name of the employer you’re dealing with).
- Be suspicious of anyone claiming to be an employer who contacts you from or asks you to contact them at a gmail, yahoo, or other free email account.
- Be suspicious of anyone asking that you set up an Instant Message (IM) account to conduct an interview.
- Don’t pay for anything prior to your being able to validate the employer (equipment, licenses, certifications, starter kits, software packages, etc.).
- Pay attention to grammar and syntax of anyone claiming to be an employer who contacts you, especially by text message, email or IM.
- Make note of questions you ask that are never answered/ignored in favor of giving you more of the sales pitch.
- When in doubt, ask the employer how they found you and contact that entity to: 1) let them know about your concerns; and 2) ask them if they can validate the employer for you.