Employment Scams

Beware of fraudulent employment offers.  Job listings in newspapers and online may promise glamorous jobs, big money working part time, work-at-home opportunities, or similar come-ons.  Be a careful consumer and learn the facts before you leap. 

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not real employment.

Many of the "jobs" advertised describe fabulous opportunities but are actually only scams to take your money. Suspicious "jobs" usually require people to send money in advance for information about the "opportunity".

Protect Yourself

  • Don't pay any fees upfront
  • Never give out your credit card information
  • Never give out your social security number until you are actually hired by a real company
  • Beware of ads with a 900 number
  • Check out companies before you get involved

Typical Scams to Avoid

Working At Home

Many work-at-home situations are scams. At best, they are an attempt to get cheap labor and to avoid the cost and obligations of having real employees (Social Security, Workers Compensation, Unemployment taxes, and withholding taxes). Although working at home is possible and can be legal, caution is advised before accepting any advertised work-at-home schemes.

For more see Work at Home Schemes from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection

Mystery Shoppers

Consumers should beware of the hundreds of web sites claiming to provide good, flexible, and fun jobs.  Only a few are legitimate sources of real work.

See Consumer Facts: Job Offers  from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

Job Openings with Major Industries

These ads claim to get you a job with the Postal Service, airlines, cruise lines, overseas, government, or utility companies. Usually the ads are really selling a packet of information or help with a government hiring test.  The information is usually out dated or available for free from other public sources.  No employment service can guarantee you a job!

For more go to Consumer Facts: Job Offers  from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

Other Scam Prevention Resources

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection. Bureau of Consumer Protection 1-800-422-7128 or DATCPHotline@Wisconsin.gov.

Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) system,  was founded in 1912 and is today supported by more than 300,000 local business members nationwide. It is dedicated to fostering fair and honest relationships between businesses and consumers, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to an ethical business environment.

Contacts in Wisconsin is at  www.wisconsin.bbb.org. or toll free at (800) 273-1002. 

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.  This non-profit consumer group has a number of publication about protecting your privacy in employment and other situations.

The Riley Guide provides a listing or other articles and resources on Scams & Schemes in Work and Employment Services.

Federal Trade Commission. In 1938, Congress passed the Wheeler-Lea Amendment, which included a broad prohibition against “unfair and deceptive acts or practices.” Since then, the Commission also has been directed to administer a wide variety of other consumer protection laws, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Pay-Per-Call Rule and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

US Postal Service The Postal Inspection Service enforces laws against mail fraud which can include employment related scams.

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