FRANKFORT, Ky. - If you are on the hunt for a job, watch out for scammers, Attorney General Andy Beshear warned recently.
Beshear said his office has received employment scam complaints from residents in Boone, Boyle, Fayette, Franklin, Hardin, Jefferson, Johnson, Madison, Shelby, Taylor and Woodford counties totaling more than $24,000 in losses this year.
While employment scams come in many forms, including paying upfront for sham job placement services or providing personal and financial information after accepting a fake job offer, Beshear said the largest losses in Kentucky involve work-from-home scams.
The scams often involve a victim who is quickly hired and asked to deposit a company check into their bank account to purchase a computer for their new job. The victim then thinks they are sending the computer to the company to have specific software installed, but they are really sending it to a scammer who keeps the computer. The fake check then bounces leaving the victim liable for the cost of the computer and other possible fees from an overdrawn account.
"Always be wary of work-from-home postings that require few qualifications yet offer easy schedules and big paychecks," Beshear said. "Just remember, if the job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Beshear says the scams can appear through text messages, unsolicited job inquiry phone calls, emails, fake job postings and on social media platforms.
Beshear recommends Kentuckians watch for these red flags to spot job scams:
-- Requests upfront payment
-- Companies that guarantee jobs, but require payment for training materials, certification fees or a placement fee are likely scams. Legitimate companies and employers shouldn't require any payment for the promise of a job.
-- Offered access to special job postings
-- Use caution when dealing with those who promise to provide access to job postings for a cost. Know that all open federal government positions can be accessed free at usajobs.gov.
-- Sounds too good to be true
-- Job postings promising large salaries to work from home, requiring little experience, typically are scams. Remain cautious if you receive a job offer without completing an in-person interview or receive an unsolicited call that says you have been hired.
-- Immediately asked to provide sensitive personal or financial information
Jobseekers are often asked to provide Social Security numbers and other personal and financial information as part of the hiring process. Take extra time to verify a company and application before providing sensitive data.
Beshear said there are many legitimate companies offering recruitment and job search services, but Kentuckians should know that real companies will provide a complete contract for services, including what services your contract covers and what happens if you do not find a job.
Beshear asks Kentuckians to report any instances of potential job scams to his office at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.
Since taking office, Beshear has returned $2.1 million to the pockets of scammed Kentuckians.
He has made protecting Kentucky families, especially seniors and veterans, from abuse and exploitation a priority by setting up the state's first scam alert system.
Kentuckians can sign up to receive Scam Alerts by texting the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or enrolling online at ag.ky.gov/scams and selecting either text message or email alerts.