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by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, November 8, 2010
As unemployment continues to hover just below 10 percent, some people have found steady work peddling phony job opportunities. Paycheck-promising schemes have consistently rated among the top scams for the past two years, and many experts predict the trend will continue.
"A lot of people are desperate for work and may be grasping for any job, which creates a great opportunity for scammers," says Stephen A. Cox of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB).
David Vladeck of the Federal Trade Commission warns that "scammers advertise jobs exactly where legitimate employers do — on popular websites, in the classifieds, and even on TV." His agency launched a crackdown on employment cons this year.
How to spot the bogus opportunities?
Here are six red flags that signal trouble ahead:
Fraudsters also use made-up company names, so confirm the names with an Internet search, at bbb.org, or at business directories such as Dun & Bradstreet and Hoovers.com. Avoid any firm that uses a post office box as its corporate address or can be reached only by leaving a message on an answering machine or with a call center operator.
Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).
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