Job Search

One place to encounter scams is while searching for jobs. You DO NOT have to pay for information about job vacancies or employment opportunities with the federal government, including the US Postal Service. Offers of federal job opportunities that request a fee are SCAMS.

Here are some basic tips for spotting scams:

  • The company guarantees to find you a job or scholarship.  Even a “money back if you are not satisfied” offer won’t help if you can’t reach the company.
  • High up-front fee is required. Requiring high up-front costs are how job search scams make their money. 
  • Carefully review any contractsbefore paying any money. Know exactly what you will be getting for your money; do not rely on verbal representations.
  • Take your time. Do not let anyone rush you into making a commitment.
  • Beware of previously undisclosed government jobs. All federal government jobs and most state jobs are publicly announced.
  • If you are considering doing business with a job-finding company check their record with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com).

If you want help finding a job, there are six basic types of service companies or agencies that can help:

  1. Public employment agencies. These federally-funded and state-funded services are offered in all states. Internet access is available at www.jobbankinfo.org for information in any state or www.jobs.state.nm.us for New Mexico job information.
  2. Private employment agencies. This type of agency brings employers and applicants together. This type of firm may charge a fee to the employer, successful applicant, or shared between the two. 
  3. Executive search firms. This type of company is hired by businesses to find the right person for their particular need. These firms are frequently referred to as “headhunters.” Fees for this type of service are paid by the company seeking the applicant.
  4. Temporary help services. This type of service supplies workers on an “as needed” basis. The company that hires the service pays the service which in turn pays the temporary worker.
  5. Executive counseling services (or career counseling services). This type of service may offer skill identification and evaluation, resume preparation, letter writing, and other general assistance to help guide and prepare an individual seeking employment. Typically the individual seeking the counseling services will be required to pay a fee for the service even if a job is not found.
  6. Job listing services. This service requires payment in advance and provides lists of jobs in the U.S. or abroad. This service does not provide actual job placement.

There are a variety of free and low-cost resources available to help with your job search:

Work-at Home Opportunities

Being your own boss is tempting. When you see a sign around campus offering you an opportunity to earn thousands of dollars for little effort you may rush to sign up. Unfortunately, many of these offers are not what they seem. Some involve high costs to you to even get started. Some consumers have lost thousands of dollars to deceptive offers. Before you sign up ask the following questions of the offer promoter:>

  • What specific tasks will I have to perform? Ask for a list.
  • Will I be paid a salary or is the pay based on commission?
  • Who will pay me?
  • When will I get my first paycheck?
  • What is the total cost of the work-at-home program? Are there supplies or equipment that must be purchased, if so, what is the cost? Are there membership fees?

Check out the business opportunity with the Better Business Bureau, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office or consumer protection agency in the state where the business opportunity is based. It is important to remember that an absence of complaints does not necessarily imply that the business has not had problems since unscrupulous operators may change names to hide past complaints.

Business Opportunities

When searching for a job, beware of advertised business opportunities that are potential scams. Here are some tips to help you avoid a scam:

  • If the “opportunity” claims buyers will receive a certain income, ask for the number and percentage of previous purchasers who achieved that income level. If the earnings potential is given but the likelihood of actually attaining that income is not also revealed, the offer may be violating the law.
  • If the opportunity being offered costs $500 or more the seller must back up the earnings claim in a written document. If the opportunity costs under $500 you can ask the seller to put the earnings information in writing.
  • Study material provided, particularly the franchise disclosure document. The FTC Franchise Rule requires the promoter to provide information about the company as well as whether it has faced any lawsuits from purchasers or lawsuits alleging fraud. The FTC requires promoters of business opportunities to provide potential purchasers with names, addresses and phone numbers of at least 10 previous purchasers who live closest to the potential purchaser. If instead of previous purchasers you are offered references, check them out because references may be phony. 
  • Check out the business opportunity with the Better Business Bureau, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, and/or the Attorney General’s Office or consumer protection agency in the state where the business opportunity is based.
  • When a business opportunity involves selling products from well known companies it is important to contact the legal department of those companies to confirm that the business opportunity and its promoter are affiliated with the well known company.
  • You might want to consult an attorney, accountant or other business advisor before committing to a business opportunity.

Don’t be rushed. High-pressure sales tactics are a tool of scam artists who want you to act now and avoid researching their offer.