'Help wanted' scams target the unemployed - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

'Help wanted' scams target the unemployed

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Job seekers, beware. Better Business Bureau officials warned of a job posting scam increasing in frequency thanks to the down economy.

Michele Mason with the BBB of North Alabama said you can't trust what you read in a job posting, even if it seems like it is from a legitimate company.

Scammers are taking out help wanted ads on websites and copying all of the details of real job postings. The only change they make is to insert their contact information in place of the real company's information. Once they get your resume, they have a head start on stealing your identity.

Experts warned some scammers will even claim that you need to pay a fee for a credit report from a specific company before they can accept your application. In reality, they are accepting the profits from the report and simultaneously collecting your private financial information.

"Don't depend just on the electronic information. Pick up the phone and dial the number that you know is the valid number for the company," Mason said. "Verify that they really are providing this position and that they really are talking to you about the job."

BBB officials also suggest these tips to avoid becoming the victim of a scam:

  • Never give your social security number until you have met with the company in-person.
  • Do not agree to cash checks and wire money for anyone. (A common request from "international telecommuting" scam postings.)
  • Check your credit report on your own at least two times per year to make sure someone has not stolen your identity.
  • Be extra cautious with an employer who makes unsolicited contact with you.
  • Job postings with grammatical errors, misspellings and lots of exclamation marks are likely scams.
  • Ads promoting jobs with generic titles, such as admin assistant or customer service rep and containing phrases like "Teleworking OK," "Immediate Start" and "No Experience Needed" are popular in scam ads.

If you feel you have been victimized by a help wanted scam, contact the Better Business Bureau or police.

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