HARRISBURG, Pa., (CBS) –Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane is advising recent graduates and others in the job market to be wary of scammers that target people using the internet to find employment.

According to the Attorney General, employment schemes are among the most common and oldest forms of consumer fraud. Often the scammers are able to collect contact information through online job boards where the consumer has posted his or her resume. In some cases, the Attorney General says, the job hunter replies to a fake posting on the online job boards and, in the process, provides contact information to the scammer.

Ultimately, Kane says an “interview” is arranged by a scammer posing as an official of the company, using information that could be readily available on the company’s website. The “interview” is typically conducted via text messages and online chat rooms. There, Kane says the interviewer attempts to induce the job seeker to disclose confidential personal information or, worse, send money.

The Attorney General says job seekers can protect their finances and identities by being aware of the tactics commonly used by scammers, and by investigating further if they suspect a job opportunity may be fake.

Clues the job posting may be a scam:

  • The interviewer requires you to pay a fee, whether that fee is during the interview process before the job is offered, or for “training materials or equipment” immediately after a job offer.
  • You must deposit a check into your personal account and wire or send some or all of the money elsewhere.
  • You must disclose your social security number, bank account number, or other sensitive personal information during the interview process.
  • Communication is solely through text messages, an online chat or messaging service, or the “interviewer’s” personal email address (such as a Yahoo Mail or Gmail address) rather than an official company email address (i.e., address@COMPANY.com).
  • The “interviewer” has poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Tips for job seekers:

  • Check the company’s website to see if the job opening is listed.
  • Call the company and ask whether it really is hiring for the specified position. If it is, verify what third parties, if any, the company is using to conduct the vetting and interview process.
  • Ask the interviewer for his or her phone number, and call that number to test whether it is a legitimate contact number for the named company.

Consumers can file a complaint regarding an employment by calling the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or visiting http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.

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