With the global recession hitting hard just about everywhere, 12.5 million out of work in the US, and another two-thirds of a million joining them every month, it’s no wonder that normally level-headed people are prone to taking desperate measures. Sadly, that’s when predators take advantage.

We look at some of the popular jobs scams that these dregs of humanity perpetrate.

Premium rate phone cons

For a couple of hundred bucks, a company can set itself up with a premium rate phone number. They then use this and a copied and pasted advert from (usually) a genuine company, along with reasonable remuneration but no postal address, website or email account. Potential job applicants are asked to phone a premium rate number costing up to $5 a minute just to ‘get more information’. The number, of course, just plays music or a bland and uninformative script. The Federal Trade Commission’s 900 Number Rule has done much to prevent this scam but it is still easy to get caught up in the moment.

Identity grabbing

Not necessarily identity theft but well down the road to it. The scammer takes out an advert for plausible but well-paid jobs with instructions to call a toll-free number for application details. In the light of the previous scam, this seems reasonable. Unfortunately and ‘surprise, surprise’, there are no jobs although callers are invited to send in their CV’s ‘just in case’. The data that arrives is then sold on to telemarketing companies who use the information to ‘target’ suitable victims. There is also the possibility that, using information like maiden names, places and dates of birth etc, banks can be persuaded to part with your cash. This is then full-blown identity theft.

People will sell you anything


An even more vicious form of abuse of your personal details. Some lowlife decides to tell you that you have been offered a job but you need to send them your bank details in order to set up wire transfers or the like. Once they have your information, they use it to access your account and steal your hard-earned cash. This type of con is particularly prevalent with working from home jobs where there is no expectation to physically meet up with an employer or other members of staff. Don’t even think of giving your Social Security number or date of birth/family name to anyone you don’t know.

Pyramids belong in Egypt

For sale, desirable residence, one careful owner

Although the ‘great’ era of pyramid-selling is thankfully over, there are still plenty of unpleasant variants around. One of the modern ‘favorites’ is to advertise well-paid jobs through an employment agency. When the unsuspecting worker shows any interest, they are told that they are highly suitable (you bet they are) however they just need to purchase a start-up package. This package, of course, costs money. If you pay, you are typically sent a poor quality leaflet telling you how to place an advert in a magazine or newspaper offering well-paid jobs which require applicants to complete a training package for which they must pay. Does all this sound sickeningly familiar?

So sorry!

Specific jobs are advertised in the papers which offer silly amounts of money for doing a relatively small and simple task. For example, ‘There’s $500 in it for you if you will pick someone up and run them to the airport terminal.’ You tell them that you can do it and are accepted, and they say they will be in touch with the collection details. A few day later, a check arrives but it will be for $1,000 – shortly followed by a phone call from the company saying that they are so sorry but their new administrative assistant goofed and ‘please could you pay it into your bank and send them a check for the balance?’. Of course their check will bounce but, if you’ve been gullible enough to send them yours in the meantime, you can kiss goodbye to the money.

No experience necessary

Of course experience is necessary! Unless a job is completely unskilled or you are starting off on the bottom rung of the ladder moneywise, anyone that tells you to the contrary is not being straight. Of course, in order to get the well-paid job you are being offered, you just need to sign up for a short training program – something for which you have to pay. Needless to say, there is no job at the end of it.

If you’d like to see more disgustign cons, there is a scams website which makes compulsive reading.

Here are two more dodges which are arguably not scams, in the sense that you do get paid for your labor. However they are not what one might call ‘honest’ either – hence their inclusion.

A rose by any other name

This is what a sucker should look like

You see a well-paid, attractive sounding job advertised, apply and are summoned for interview. That’s when the fun starts. The interviewer gradually gets around to explaining that the original job has been filled and that you seem ‘remarkably suitable’ for another ‘similar’ position which is why you’ve been invited to come along. The other job turns out to be some thankless task that no-one wants to do because of its nature, salary or, most likely, both combined. The psychology is that it is easier to hard-sell the work to a captive audience (you’re far too polite to get up and walk out).

Too good to be true

How many times has it been said that if it is too good to be true then it isn’t (true)? A job offering FREE training and good rates of pay is advertised. You apply, and are told that you will be collected from home. Someone arrives – probably another worker – and you are driven a long way from home to some shady neighborhood where you are faced with the choice of either doing some lousy job like distributing flyers or coupons for next-to-no-pay or finding your own way back home.

These are just some of the many scams that are out there. If the parasites that operated them put half as much energy into an honest day’s work as they do to dreaming up new cons, the world would be a much better place. Unfortunately it isn’t going to happen so you need to keep your eyes open and your thinking head on at all times.

There are also some great career resources here – use these to find that genuine job that’s out there waiting for you!