PHOENIX -- As the school year ends and graduations take place, many Arizonans will be looking for quick employment, some for the first time. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office wants to remind those looking for employment to be on the lookout for possible employment scams. Scam artists are finding new ways or creating twists on old scams to take advantage of those looking to earn money. From fake employment posts to mystery shopper scams, everyone needs to be cautious.
Employment con artists typically post jobs online, on social media posts, and in newspapers. It can be difficult to spot the difference between a legitimate employment opportunity and an employment scam. Oftentimes, the scam artist will use the same website where legitimate employers advertise employment opportunities, and the scam artist may even use the same company logo or one that looks similar. Scam artists often post fake employment offers to lure job seekers into offering personal identifying information, such as a full birthdate or Social Security number before the job seeker has even been interviewed. Giving up this information early can lead to identity theft.
Other scams make people believe they have been hired and then focus on gaining access to your bank information or your credit. In 2017, the Attorney General's Office prosecuted Aaron Blodgett and Matthew Blodgett. The defendants posted “help wanted ads” on Craigslist for clerical and administrative jobs. Those who responded to the ads were interviewed and told they needed better credit to get the job. Some victims were told they needed better credit scores because all employees were considered investors in the company.
The Blodgett brothers encouraged the victims to obtain loans from various banks and turn the money over to them. According to investigators, the Blodgett brothers told the victims they would repay the loans and ultimately failed to do so. The loans soon went into default, and the victims’ credit scores deteriorated. Approximately $187,776 was allegedly stolen from 18 victims. Most of the victims were in their twenties and looking for part-time work while going to school.
The two men pleaded guilty for their involvement in the employment and credit improvement scam.
Attorney General Brnovich offers these tips when looking for employment:
- Research the employer advertising the job before providing your resume or any personal information.
- Are there spelling, capitalization, or grammatical mistakes in the posting? This should be a red flag.
- Be cautious of unsolicited job offers. They may claim they found your resume online. Ask questions.
- Be cautious of companies that respond to your online resume but provide little information. If they send you an email that provides no contact information such as a phone number or an address, this is a giant red flag.
- Job placement companies may claim they are following up on your online resume for a specific company or that they work with specific companies to hire people who match your skill set. Ask the agency whom they are representing, and check with the company to make sure the employment position exists. Use reputable job sites when posting your resume
- Request a face-to-face interview, rather than a telephonic interview, before accepting a job offer or providing personal identifying information such as your Social Security number.
- Never cash a check for a potential employer and forward the funds to a third party. Never send bank routing information for direct deposit or other purposes before reporting to your new job.
- Remember, good jobs are hard to find and highly competitive. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office online. You can also contact the Consumer Information and Complaints Unit in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763; in Tucson at (520) 628-6648; and outside of the metro Phoenix area at (800) 352-8431.