When is an interview not an interview?

Last week a friend sent me a link to an article about consumer scams (written by Geoff Williams for US News & World Report) and suggested it might be an appropriate topic for my blog. I was a bit skeptical, because consumer fraud is not a topic I would plan to address here. But the friend who sent it has sent me good material before, so I clicked on the link to see what he thought might be something I should tell you about.

The article describes specific types of fraud, and four of them were familiar to me:

• the send-us-money-for-processing-and-we’ll-send-you-your-multimillion-dollar-inheritance scam,
• the this-is-your-bank-and-we-need-to-verify-your-personal-information scam,
• the we’re-your-utility-company-and-we’re-going-to-shut-off-your-power-unless-you-send-us-money-now scam,
• and the there-is-something-wrong-with-your-computer-but-I-can-fix-it-from-here-for-$100 scam.

The one I had NOT heard before, however, was the we-want-to-hire-you-now scam.

According to the article, individuals who describe themselves as job seekers on social media can be approached by companies and offered a job on the spot…perhaps after a phone interview, but also perhaps without any type of interview. The job would usually involve some type of work that can be done from home. After a few weeks, the individual is “fired” and told that a paycheck will be sent to them for the work they have done…but the check never arrives.

LinkedIn is now so heavily used by legitimate employers that you can’t afford to ignore it because of a few scammers. So the article suggests that job seekers be cautious about using social media, and specifically says that you should not accept any job that is offered to you “out of the blue” or where the employer insists on an immediate response to the offer. You need time to do some research on the organization before agreeing to do any work, and their insistence that you start right away should tell you that they don’t want you to check them out.

Job seekers today endure enough hurdles and disappointments without being faced with a reprehensible scam like this. I hope you’ll take the precautions required to keep from being victimized as you negotiate the process to obtaining a job that suits your skills and needs.