Monday, September 3, 2012

A Labor Day Warning About Job Scams

By Manifesto Joe

Ever heard the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is?

I recently joined the ranks of America's unemployed, and that bit of wisdom is coming in quite handy for me as my job search heats up. There are job scams galore out there, and if you've got e-mail addresses involved in your search, you're certain to be getting all kinds of offers from con artists.

With as many nervous and vulnerable job hunters as there are out there, there are countless vultures ready and willing to prey on them and put their unemployment benefits in a different bank. I can identify several types of these scams.

1. Insurance companies

However good their pitch, and however reputable they sound, this is one of the most common scams. Oh, it's legal, and they tend to merely stretch the truth rather than outright lie. If you've uploaded a resume, any resume, on any kind of a site like, you've either gotten these kinds of offers or will soon get them. The requirement for their interest: a pulse.

I almost fell for one of their common ploys -- a presentation that serves as a sort of preliminary interview. I decided recently to accept an offer to do this, so I suited up, printed out my resume, got my briefcase out and used this as a "dress rehearsal" for a one-on-one interview.

The presentation was good, I had to admit. But I looked around the room. These prelim events generally have five to 15 prospects in the room. I was one of 10, so we were very average. There were people there from all walks of life, all levels of education. Most already had jobs and were looking for a different sort of opportunity.

It all sounded pretty good, until you are told that it's going to cost quite a bit of money to get licensed by the state. It's also 100% commission, and they avoid telling you that most "agents" don't survive the first year. Even among the ones who do, there's a trainer there who's going to help you build a call list, and that person is very likely to take the lion's share of the money. They say it's not a pyramid scheme, but you eventually find that's how it works.

When a company sends you an e-mail, Google the company's name and then type in "scam." I'll bet you get numerous hits on that every time.

I'm not going to name names, but I'll go so far as to say that it's every single one of them that directly contacts resume posters. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you didn't send a resume directly to this company, chances are 99.44% that this is a scam.

2. Franchises

Again, these outfits will send you an e-mail and lay lots of flattery on you about your "experience." They will tell you how much money you can make, and how you can be your "own boss" as a franchisee.

Delete, with extreme prejudice.

3. Work-at-home schemes

Again, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. A common one of these is how one can make $77 an hour working at home on one's PC.

Do yourself a favor and get rid of it.

4. For-profit colleges

Ever gotten into what looks like a job-search website, then get bombarded by pop-up ads for those "for-profit" online colleges?

They'll gladly take your money for a degree that, in the end, you may be unable to use.

Exit these, post haste.

One problem that's not exactly a scam, but is a disgusting time-waster, is when you're trying to apply for a company's advertised job, and your software isn't communicating with the company's. This is tied in with how unhealthily dependent companies have become on computer programs. In this case, the company's IT people haven't updated their system to be compatible with a wide range of PC software. So, you get taken around in circles until you realize that this is an exercise in futility.

Perhaps the worst scammer of all is Corporate America itself

This is happening where I used to work, and it's common all across the U.S. People get laid off from full-time jobs with benefits. Then, six months to a year later, if they're still available, the same company offers them a part-time job, with no benefits, of course.

Also, have you noticed how many of the advertised job openings are part time, or for temporary contract posts, etc.?

We live in the age of the Throwaway American Workforce. More than ever, people are being replaced by computers, and employee pension plans are being abandoned so that corporations can "afford" to pay lavish executive pensions.

The official U.S. unemployment rate has generally been 8-9% for years. If you take into account the number of people who are underemployed, stuck in no-future jobs with no benefits, I think you could double that percentage for all practical purposes. And then, there are millions who have just plain given up.

Bottom line: If you are hunting for a job, be careful out there.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


CBSiteSecurity said...

CareerBuilder does have verification mechanisms in place used to screen companies and individuals who wish to access our products and services. We are dedicated in preventing suspected fraud from accessing the site. We will investigate complaints thoroughly and take action as appropriate based on our Terms and Conditions.

For more information about Online Fraud or to report a job or email you received, we do offer a Fraud Page for Jobseekers:

Thank you.

CareerBuilder’s Trust and Site Security Team

Manifesto Joe said...

Re "fraud": Just because something is legal doesn't mean that it's ethical. Your company is mentioned only passingly in the first category of scams. You aren't the perpetrators of the insurance companies' pitches, but they are getting resumes from among the ones you have had uploaded. What the insurance companies are doing is legal, and I'm sure they have acertained that. But what companies like Amway do is legal, too. That doesn't make a pyramid scheme ethical.

Old Scout said...

CareerBuilder isn't in the business of caring who gets screwed or shafted as long as they can mine the situation. Corporations in the US have lost sight of the social function of enterprise and their social respnocibility to the culture and National Government and its subordinate elements of government.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you in finding a new job. I've got a...thing (I'm not ready to call it a scam) I want to share. I'm a licensed attorney, and I sent my resume out to a firm that advertised a position for new attorneys (I'm pretty sure they said it was an associate position). I got an interview and learned, this wasn't an attorney job. It seemed something more of a paralegal job (it would not be practicing law, even in a non-traditional sense, but it would be helping others attorneys with their cases). (The salary was also pretty ridiculous for an attorney job.) I've heard other stories of this: a job advertisement saying that want qualifications for one thing but the job not needing that at all. I guess with the economy, employers are realizing that they can get a good deal on overqualified people. (Which I guess can be a good thing, because it's also frustrating to be told you're overqualified for a job. I just employers should be upfront about it.)

Manifesto Joe said...

Right now, I'm looking at a situation in which I'm very overqualified for a job that I had over 20 years ago, and may very well have to take again. It's just a bad time. I'm having to look at it like, well, it's a job. I'm finding that unemployment isn't what anyone cracked it up to be. Perhaps you don't have to show up for something 5 days a week, but I am nervous all the time about what may or may not happen. I prefer certainty.

Anonymous said...

Good one Joe. I've had some interesting labor adventures. Did some demo and rough work for a construction company in August. Still haven't gotten paid 4 weeks later despite filing with MI Wage and Hourly.

I really needed the money from those ball-busting 12-hour days to help pay for my new career: apprenticed millwright. Funny how one gets what they want when they can least afford it.

Working a trade union job is a bit of an adjustment, kind of wished I started the apprenticeship 10 years and 20 pounds ago, with a fatter bank account. Being 31 and new around 19-25-year-old apprentices is a little depressing, but I'm working hard to keep my Journeymen and program directors happy. Thankfully mileage and tools are tax-deductible.

My first work day was last Wednesday in the heart of Ford Rouge, (Think of Pittsburgh's steel mills in their heyday). I've never felt better working a 16 hour day in my life. Got laid off right after though, but I get to call in for work this week.

I'll eventually have benefits, an actual PENSION plan, and a defined retirement date spelled out my first day of class based on a handy formula provided by the admins. What private sector job has all of those perks these days?

So for the first time in my life, I have a CAREER, not a J-O-B. It's not the first choice, I tried like blazes to become an electrician, but millwrights work the giant machines that keep even the corporate hegemony running, so I'm sure I'm not totally disposable like in all my dead-end jobs from before.

Sorry to hear you've had your livelihood yanked from under you. That happened to my mother back in 2001 when she was 2 years from her full retirement benefits. Sucks to have most of the meaning in your life taken away through 99.9% no fault of your own, but then again, we're living in the beginning of another Dark Age of serfdom.