This post is a bit longer than normal; I am sorry for that. There is a bit of info to put in here and too little to split into two posts. This advice is only that, my advice. Take what you want, leave what you don’t want.
We now live in a province that is struggling, we struggle for food, maintain a shelter, and find work. Sure, everyone has their sad story, but it’s like we are slowing morphing into the city of Gotham. Where is Batman to stop the evil men in our real world? Praying on the unemployed, desperate and helpless. The law can’t keep up with the technology and scams that are floating around, so are helpless themselves. Ever since the rejection of old-fashioned moral values, enforcement of rules in schools and the common public expectation to be kind in our daily life, then the ease of bringing people closer with technology; our world is becoming more and more of a jungle, filled with dangerous creatures at every turn. I’m talking creatures that want to hurt you and take your money.
I have looked for work for some time now and it has been tough. Rejection is becoming a daily expectation for me. But one thing that surprised me was discovering and stumbling over job scam after job scam. They are everyplace.
My first encounter was a job that offered management training, no experience needed. What? I have never seen this before in my life. What kind of job wants managers that have never worked a day in their life? Or has absolutely no idea about the job? Curious as I am I fired off a résumé. Sure enough, they emailed me back with a Skype call appointment. My second red flag. A Skype call? They claim to be in the same city, why on earth would I need to do a Skype call? I started to research the company online, just googled the name of the company. There was no official website like you would find for Wal-Mart or Ikea. The only links were of job search engines. There was no contact number, no address, and no way to get a hold of anyone or go to the office. This is BIG red flag three.
I decided that I would ask around about this as it just seemed wrong to me. I am sure with new technology there may be some new ways of conducting interviews, but Skype for a job in the same city is just wrong. Perhaps if I were applying for a job in another city, country, or perhaps someday different planet, a Skype call would be reasonable. The commute for a 30 min interview would be killer on the pocket-book. I asked a job placement agency that was legit, I went to the office itself, I also talked to the government job search section of our government building. I learned a lot about what scammers are doing, even physically harming people to get their money. So be don’t put private information on your résumé when sending online. I will talk more about what not to put on your online resume at the end of this post.
Scammers are getting people to pay money up front for a job or enrollment in a company, using whatever label they can to get you to pay. Pay for administration fees, or processing fees, or pay for membership or training fees. All CRAP! Don’t pay it, run away from any company that wants this. Unless you are buying into becoming your own boss, it’s not your cash that legitimate business get upfront. Apparently, people have been physically harmed. This is just insane, crazy beyond measure.
I once had a phone call scammer call me representing himself as a company that I won something. As I was talking to him I started to get those red flag feelings. He swore, he did not use proper sophisticated language, meaning too casual of speech for a proper business. He would ask me my postal code, address and I wouldn’t give it to him. He seemed wrong so I called him on it. I told him that he did not sound like a legitimate HR personal, I then told him I think he is a scammer. Well I thought he swore a bit before, he could make a pirate blush now. I hung up on him, hoping that would be the end of it. Oh no, no, he was not done with me. He would call and tell me he will find me, he knew what city I lived in and said he was coming for me and my family. He was angry at me for exposing him for what he was, he chose that life so why? Why would anyone want to hurt others so much and find joy in it maybe, power? I would not give him that, I am perhaps stupid, but I will not satisfy such a ridiculous behaviour. I would just hang up on him. I called the police but as usual, they said until something happens they can’t do anything about it. Plus, being a call from overseas it is out of their jurisdiction. Jurisdiction? Don’t they join with other countries to stop these people? But I can make an official complaint. Typical, I had heard that when dealing with a violent ex-boyfriend stalker.
So this phone scammer called me at 2 am everyday for a month, I changed my phone number and it was peaceful for about two weeks and it started again. I changed my number again and complained to the phone company that they have a leak in the company and I made a huge deal of it. I have not heard from him since. I learned he knew my city simply by my phone number, since caller display is now available it is amazing what people can get from that. I did not have a Facebook account and was told that, that was probably what saved me a lot more problems. Since many people put way too much information on their Facebook accounts.
If a “you have won” phone call turns into this hassle what the heck happens when you are looking for work? You have no money because you are looking for work and they want your money? How does that make any sense? I think of Al Capone who employed men who were looking for work. What a nice guy hey? He helped the poor saps out by giving them work? But with strings attached. These guys don’t want to hire you, just fork over those food stamps buddy.
So when you are looking for work and you get those appointments for, Skype or phone interview before they are going to decide to bring you in, research the company before you talk to them. Are they legit, can you go to the office? If yes, do so. Check it out. Today we are our own Batman, or his butler that did a lot of the research for him. We are to become like spy’s sort of. We must do our own research on the company, gather intelligence. I have learned that a lot of them are posing as “marketing “companies. At least that’s where I am finding all of them. I mean seriously, I stumble on them a lot, why are the cops not “looking for work” and get them?
And then there is this one. You get an email telling you to call the company and discuss opportunities. They did not state the job you applied, they did not really say much of anything, but give you a number. Problem here is when you call the company you are paying as though you dialed a 1900 number. Pay per minute on the phone, and they will make you stay on that phone as long as they can. If a legit company emails you they will say, thank you for applying for XYZ position and would like to set up an interview. Please meet at out office located at XYZ place at XYZ time on XYZ day. If at anytime the company you apply to is vague, it is a red flag.
I also urge you to go to your local job placement agency office building and talk to them about how to avoid job scams. If they don’t know what you are talking about try another place. I have met a few people who are blind to this and make many excuses, such as “that is not a real thing”. They are the ones that will be scammed down the road. I would not argue with them, just find someone who can guide you. Or even talk to the local police fraud department. Or do some more research online and gather intelligence on how to stay safe when looking for work.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A JOB SCAM
Before you even apply for a job carefully read the advertised job. Trust your waving red flag feelings, if it seems off, it is. If is sounds strange, it is. Don’t trust the company that doesn’t give the company name, or any information on job details, is it vague? Also, I find a lot through so-called employment placement agencies that claim they are working on behalf of a “un-named” company. The so-called placement agency does not even exist outside that post you found it. A legitimate business will have a physical address you can go to, or even google map it to view the building if it states its headquarters are on a different province. (Thank you technology) If you google map it and you see an empty lot, or no such address or a house on a street, it’s not real.
Ask questions, legitimate companies are proud of their success and want to answer questions that a potential employee has about the great business they have. Scammers are absent in the information, if you feel like they are avoiding or dismissing your questions, I suggest not perusing that “job” any further.
Research. Research. Research. I can’t emphasize this enough. As Dorothy says “We are not in Kansas anymore Toto”. It is a whole different world out there. It will take you longer to search for jobs online, it sometimes takes me about three or four hours for one job, from researching the company to creating the targeted resume to sending it off. Even then I am careful what is on my résumé. (more about this later) Just because a company name is on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or a job search engine like, ziprecruiter, monster. indeed, or any of the many, many others, it doesn’t mean it is real. It can still be fake! Look for the physical address, contact number, real company webpage, in the news? Look for company reviews from those scorned ex-employees. Also, I look at reviews that are a mix, if they are all perfect reviews, that seems fishy too about a company. No one has a 100% employee satisfaction rate.
Trust your intuition. Many of us have learned to push down our intuition because we want to fit in, or not cause waves, or whatever the reason. I want you to trust your intuition, to allow it to guide you. If you feel uneasy about a job ad, let it pass, move on. I want you to be safe, happy, and find a good job. Or better yet, start your own! Whatever you decide, please follow your gut feelings.
WHAT NOT TO PUT ON YOUR RESUME, ESPECIALLY FOR ONLINE SUBMISSION
Don’t put on any personal information. Having said that a resume is filled with personal information. I mean the identifying type of information. Your physical or mailing address leave off. Just put your City or town name. You may or many not leave off your phone number. I have the employer contact me via email only. This is the easiest way to get a feel for the company if I am unsure before going forward. Unless I know without a shadow of doubt it is a legitimate company, then I will put in a phone number. If you have your media accounts linked to your resume, make sure your social media accounts do not have your personal identifying or locating address on it anyplace. The scammers will scour the social media sites like a stalker to learn everything they can about you.
Job scams are something every job seeker needs to be aware of, but don’t lose hope. If you keep your wits about you, trust your instincts and follow these suggestions, I am sure you will be safer in your searching. I hope you find a great job for you, take care and be safe.
Have you had any experience with a job scammer you would like to share?