Be Aware of Email Communication
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.
Protect Yourself from Bogus Employment Offers
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 IllinoisJobLink.com is prohibited by law (see the IllinoisJobLink.com Employer User Agreement). If anyone attempts to charge you a fee for a job listed on IllinoisJobLink.com please contact the IDES Employment Service as soon as possible by email at email@example.com.
- Research the employer to ensure the employer's authenticity and legitimacy by contacting independent service organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.
- 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.
- Be cautious of exaggerated claims of potential earnings.
- Be wary when replying to unsolicited emails for any employment, especially work-at-home employment.
- Create a unique email address for each website (other than IllinoisJobLink.com) 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.
Common Job Scams
These scams usually ask for a registration fee that must be paid before work begins. Once the registration fee has been paid, you are told to place an advertisement in a local newspaper, using your contact information. The advertisement is usually the same advertisement to which you replied. Once you receive a response to the advertisement, you are told to fill an envelope with instructions on how to start and mail it to the new applicant. The scammer says your fees will be based upon how many responses you get for the advertisement you placed.
Lists of Work-At-Home Jobs
These are offers to purchase lists of companies that are hiring for work-at-home positions. Be very careful before purchasing these lists because they are often inaccurate.
Advertisements for these jobs always ask for an initial financial investment. The advertisement will wrongly say 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. Be very wary of these advertisements.
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 tries to reassure the victim of the legitimacy of the position 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. After receiving a response from the victim, checks, money orders, or wire deposits will be sent to the victim for "processing" or for use as a deposit while "secret shopping" a local bank. The victim will be asked to cash the check or money order and send a percentage of the funds back to the scammers. Once the funds are sent back to the scammers (usually the victim is told to keep a percentage for themselves, as payment for their services) the victim's bank or financial institution learns that the check/money order/wire transfer was fraudulent. The funds are then subtracted from the victim's account and they are made liable for the lost money.
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, to the victim. As with check cashing scams, they offer legitimate-looking contracts and other documentation to make them appear legitimate. Packages are then shipped to the victim's residence, with instructions to repackage the goods, and reship the packages to another address. Once the package has been reshipped, the victim is "guilty" of receiving and shipping stolen property. The police then get involved, as the return address is that of the victim.
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
Also known as pyramid schemes, these involve recruiting new members to earn money. Although there are legitimate MLM businesses, these are based on selling products or a service. When the money earned is based primarily on finding new recruits, it is usually an illegal pyramid scheme.
More Information on Internet Fraud and Scams
While the information above is to inform you of some of the most common schemes, others may exist. See the links below for more information on Internet frauds and scams: