Missouri Job Center warns of online job scams

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Job Center is warning people looking for jobs online to be cautious of new and more sophisticated ways to scam job seekers.

Supervisor Lisa Marshall said the Columbia center has seen an increase in individuals posing as employers attempting to collect sensitive personal information from applicants.

The no-cost career service has recently added more screenings to verify job postings are legitimate, but warns the public to remain cautious.

"Being aware is the first thing,” Marshall said. “Sometimes it may not be a legitimate job offer.”

“They may call or email you and pretend they want to hire you and then they may ask you that sensitive information and if they get all that, they could steal your identity.”

Missouri Job Center recommends thoroughly researching companies before applying, and staying up to date on recent scams through the Federal Trade Commission’s scam alerts page. Officials also say job seekers should never give personal banking or social security information via email, fax or phone.

Job seekers should not open email attachments or links requesting personal information and should make sure the URL on the job website has a padlock symbol and begins with “https:” in the web address.

MU senior Cody Basch said he experienced questionable job offers and interviews when looking for an internship last year via LinkedIn. Some potential employers used a very short interview process and an unclear job description.

“The company I ended up interviewing with was a three-step interview process. No more than 15 minutes each. I ended up taking it and quit the first day because they didn’t talk about what the job actually was,” Basch said.

“They didn’t really know too much about me, I didn’t know too much about the company and I think that’s what the fault was.”

Despite having a "decent website," Basch said the job didn't seem legitimate because the company "didn’t really share exactly what they did and that’s really what went wrong with the whole job.”

Marshall said if an offer “seems too good to be true, it probably is.” She warns against offers to work from home and jobs offered via text message or Google hangout. Instead, job fairs are a way to guarantee employment is legitimate.

The Missouri Job Center will host a job fair Wednesday, May 9 at the Elks Lodge in Columbia from 1-5pm. The event will have 43 employers representing 400 current job openings.

To stay up to date on current scams or report one, visit https://www.ftc.gov/. Learn more tips to avoid job scams on MU’s career website.

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