Ho, ho, ho! I just gave out my bank account number and routing number, the PIN number to my debit card, passwords to my online banking arrangements, and paid a fee of $1,000 to this guy who called me to tell me he would find me a job--guaranteed, or my money back!
Obviously, you're not going to do that. Times are tough, and the crooks are getting tough too. I've gotten calls that tell me my Microsoft Windows computer is infected with malware; that I've won an all-expenses-paid trip to Jamaica; that I need a security system to protect my loved ones at home; that I can reduce the rates on all my credit cards.
If you are on the job market, be aware that advertisers and direct marketers may not always be offering a legitimate job. Following are some websites that give you the warning signs.
- http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams from the Federal Trade Commission
- http://www.labor.ny.gov/careerservices/scamwarn.shtm from New York State Department of Labor
- http://www.keppiecareers.com/avoid-job-scams/ from a "job hunt" blog, Keppie Careers
- http://mashable.com/2013/10/05/10-signs-a-job-is-a-scam/ from a social media blog, Mashable
- https://www.privacyrights.org/avoiding-online-job-scams from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
If you get a phone call, and the number is displayed on your caller ID, try googling it; just type the number (no hyphens, parentheses, etc.) into your browser search box. Very often, scam callers' numbers will return a list of forums including discussions about what's behind the number.
Finally, if you are contacted by a scammer, consider reporting it! Here is the US government location, including violations of the "do not call" registry, job scams, and more: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. Yeah, I report them, and the calls just keep on coming. But at least I'm providing a papertrail; maybe their karma will eventually catch up with them.