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Workforce Connection of Citrus, Levy and Marion counties cautions jobseekers to be alert for scammers usurping the names of legitimate businesses and organizations to take advantage of those looking for work.
Workforce Connection CEO Rusty Skinner said that the regional workforce board decided to issue the warning after hearing about the problem from other workforce boards. In Panama City, scammers posted jobs on the Employ Florida Marketplace luring jobseekers who, when they responded, were instructed to send money in advance for “required” job training.
“Scammers are unscrupulous, clever and are often very good at what they do,” Skinner said. “It is unconscionable that these imposters are taking money from people who are diligently seeking employment.”
The Employ Florida Marketplace, or EFM, is the state’s online job bank and used by all 24 regional workforce boards. Even though EFM posts scamming warnings on nearly every page, Skinner said that when someone is searching for work and finds what appears to be a promising job, “it’s easy to get excited and let your guard down.”
Skinner noted that so far there have been no reports of similar employment scams in Citrus, Levy and Marion counties, and that he hopes to keep it that way by alerting jobseekers to warning signs, such as claims of guaranteed employment and requests for payment of up-front fees.
• Research the company to make sure it is the real deal (to ensure a business is authentic, contact the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org)
• Keep your email address private and DO NOT provide your social security number or any sensitive information to an employer unless you are confident they are legitimate
• Be wary of any employer offering a job without an interview
• Be alert for any employer charging fees to either employ, find placement or provide training
• Investigate thoroughly any employer requesting you transfer funds or receive packages for reshipment, especially if they are located overseas
• Avoid vague offers, exaggerated claims of possible earnings or product effectiveness, or any job posting claiming “no experience necessary”
Likewise, jobseekers should exercise caution when replying to unsolicited emails for work-at-home employment as well as for employers who conduct their interviews in a home setting or in motel rooms.
Anyone who suspects they have been victimized in an employment scam should contact the Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline at 866-966-7226.