INDIANAPOLIS – The latest alert from the Federal Trade Commission makes it clear that scammers are keeping up with the news and current events.

Since the start of last year, nearly 240,000 people have been laid off from big tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, Salesforce and more.  That makes 240,000 potential victims for crooks looking to make money off a job search scam.

The FTC is warning against scammers that can make fake job postings look real.  They might even do a fake virtual job interview with a bogus web portal for you to provide your social security and banking information, supposedly for direct deposit payroll.

While posing as an employer, they might even ask you to send them money to pay for equipment for report work.  Of course, the money is really just for them.

If you’re currently on the job hunt, here are some tips and red flags suggested by the FTC:

  • Verify job openings before you apply. Reach out to the company directly using contact information you know to be legit — not an email or phone number you got from the person who contacted you. If you’re not familiar with the company, search its name with the word “scam” or “fraud.” You may find stories from others who have been targeted.
  • Watch for telltale signs of a possible scam. There’s no sure-fire way to detect a job scam, but there are red flags that should raise your suspicions. For example, email from personal accounts not affiliated with a company, poor spelling and grammar, interviews conducted solely via email or online chat, salaries out of line with industry norms, and requests for account numbers or other personal information.  
  • Don’t pay for the promise of a job. Honest employers will never ask you to pay to get a job. And legitimate placement firms and headhunters typically don’t charge prospective employees. Instead, they’re paid by the company looking for qualified candidates. If you’re asked for money, walk away. You could be dealing with a scam.

The FTC has plenty of other tips for those on the job search, including how to report a scam on their website.