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Protect Yourself During Your Job Search
IDES operates IJL on a secure server, so all the information maintained by IJL about you and your use of IJL is safe and secure. However, you may want to consider the following tips to protect yourself and your personal identifying information when you use resources other than IJL to look for jobs:
  1. Beware of Email Communications

  2. Email is NOT a secure method of communication. Any information you send in an unencrypted email message can be intercepted and read by someone other than the intended recipient. Never send bank account information, credit card numbers, your full social security number, or any other sensitive information by email unless it is encrypted.


  3. Protect Yourself from Bogus Job Offers

    1. Be wary of any employer offering employment without an interview, or who conducts interviews at non-work related sites such as a personal residence or a motel room rather than the employer's place of business or a public facility such as an IDES office.

    2. Be wary of any employer who can be contacted only by email, and does not or will not provide a mailing address and telephone number.

    3. Be wary of any employer or agency that charges a fee to employ you or to find employment for you. You should know that charging a fee or other consideration for a job listed on IJL is prohibited by law (see the IJL User Agreement). If anyone attempts to charge you a fee for a job listed on IJL please contact the IDES Employment Service as soon as possible by email at des.ijlsysadmspprt@illinois.gov.

    4. Research the employer to ensure the employer's authenticity and legitimacy by contacting independent service organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.

    5. Be wary of vague job offers. A legitimate employer should be more than willing to give you specific information about a job, such as salary, benefits, work hours, work location, etc.

    6. Be cautious of exaggerated claims of potential earnings.

    7. Be wary when replying to unsolicited emails for any employment, especially work-at-home employment.

    8. Create a unique email address for each website (other than IJL) you use to find work, and cancel the email address when you are finished using that website. This way your regular email address will not be disclosed, which will protect it from spamming, phishing, unwanted tracking, etc., and if you get a bogus job offer you can easily determine the website where it was listed and report it to the website operator. There are many Internet sites that offer free email services, and generally you will be able to forward emails from email addresses at those sites to your regular email address.


  4. Common Job Scams

    1. Envelope Stuffing - These scams usually ask for a registration fee that must be paid before work begins. Once the registration fee is paid you are told to place an advertisement in a local newspaper using your personal contact information. The advertisement is usually the same advertisement to which you replied. When you receive a response to the advertisement, you are told to fill an envelope with instructions on how to start the envelope stuffing business and mail it to the new candidate. The scammer tells you your compensation will be based upon how many new registrations result from the advertisement you placed.

    2. Lists of Work-At-Home Jobs - These are offers to sell you lists of companies that are hiring for work-at-home positions. Be very careful before purchasing these lists because they are often inaccurate.

    3. Medical Billing - Advertisements for this work usually ask for an initial financial investment. The advertisement will falsely state that a small percentage of medical claims are transmitted electronically and that the market for medical billing is wide open. The reality is that the market is well established and highly regulated. Be very wary of these advertisements.

    4. Check Cashing Scams - These generally begin with an email offering a job as a secret shopper, or as someone who transfers funds internationally. The scammer reassures the victim of the legitimacy of the work by offering documents that have no value, such as forged or false documents bearing company letterhead, fake contracts, fake letters of credit, payment schedules, and bank drafts.

      If the victim accepts the job, checks, money orders, or wire transfers are sent to him or her for "processing" or for use as a deposit while "secret shopping." The victim is told to deposit the checks, money orders, or wire transfers with his or her bank or financial institution and send the funds back to the scammers (usually the victim is told to keep a percentage as payment for his or her services) After the funds are sent back to the scammers the victim's bank or financial institution determines that the checks/money orders/wire transfers are fraudulent and the victim becomes liable for the lost money.

    5. Reshipping Scams - These generally target work-at-home moms or other people trying to supplement their income. These scams begin with an employment offer, usually via email. As with check cashing scams, they involve what appear to be legitimate contracts and other documentation. If the victim accepts the job, packages are shipped to the victim's residence with instructions to repackage the goods and reship the package to another address. When the victim reships the repackaged goods he or she usually commits the felonies of receiving and shipping stolen property. The police can determine the identity of the victim through the return address on the reshipped package, but generally the original scammers are untraceable.

    6. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) - Also known as pyramid schemes, these schemes involve earning money by recruiting new members/participants into the scheme. Although there are legitimate MLM businesses based on selling products or services, when the compensation generated by a scheme is essentially based exclusively on recruiting new members/participants, it is usually an illegal pyramid scheme.


  5. More Information about Frauds and Scams
    While the information above is provided to inform you of some of the most common scams, others exist. The links below take you to websites outside of IJL that provide more information about Internet and non-Internet frauds and scams:

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