Employment Scams And Fake Job Postings

Scam artists are conjuring up increasingly creative ways to take advantage of desperate job seekers during this rough economic climate. The purpose of this article is to explore the telltale signs of employment scams and fake job postings. Nurses Job Hunt Article

Employment Scams And Fake Job Postings

Unemployed healthcare workers who are desperate for work might fall victim to phony job postings that take full advantage of their vulnerable situations. Even though some of these scams have existed for many years, the sluggish national economy has been the driving force that has led an increasing number of reasonably intelligent people to respond to questionable employment advertisements.

Unfortunately, people who fall victim to employment scams often find themselves in even more precarious financial situations. After all, they've most likely lost some money through the scheme. In addition, the con artists who perpetrate these fraudulent acts are usually able to extract just enough personal information from their victims to commit identity fraud.

Many individuals are being suckered into advance fee fraud schemes.

Advance fee fraud is a scam in which con artists convince job seekers to pay money 'in advance.' However, the payments never result in employment.

For example, a newly graduated nurse responds to a job posting for a travel nursing position, provides personal information via email, and is 'hired' before anyone at the agency has even met her. The friendly people at the agency initially mail the new nurse an advance payment in the form of a cashiers check to cover fees for airline travel and housing, but they contact their 'new hire' shortly afterward and inform her that the position has been filled. They request that their money be returned through Western Union or in the form of a personal check or money order. The new nurse follows these instructions, but later discovers the cashiers check that the agency originally mailed her was fraudulent and the money she 'returned' to them is gone forever.

Another fake job posting involves help-wanted ads for private duty CNAs, home health aides, personal sitters, and caregivers that baits readers with promises of competitive pay and the allure of caring for one client.

The 'hiring manager' wants to schedule an interview as soon as possible, but will first need $100 for a background check as soon as possible in the form of a cashiers check, money order, or Western Union wire transfer. The person who does the hiring receives the money, but never contacts the job candidate again.

Those work-at-home medical billing jobs that require applicants to pay upfront fees for start-up kits are also fake.

These postings lead job seekers to believe that they'll earn good money by processing medical bills at home. While the telemarketers may provide lists of local doctors they say are interested in having their billing done by consumers, many times these doctors have not consented to have their information distributed, are not looking for outside help, or may need more skilled employees to complete this technical task (FTC, 2002).

Employment scams usually have blaring red flags. If you spot one or more of these warning signs, do not respond to the job posting.

  • All emails and job postings are riddled with spelling errors and poor grammar.
  • The so-called employer is requesting that you wire money through Western Union.
  • The so-called employer is requesting money upfront, before you do any work.
  • The so-called employer demands social security numbers, bank account numbers, and other personal information over the telephone or through email communications.
  • The only available contact information consists of a p.o. box address, a phone number with a long-distance area code, an email address, or a poorly-designed website.

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Legitimate employers will never require you to pay them anything. Be suspicious if the pay rate is unusually high, and research the company. It always pays off to think twice before responding to job postings. Good luck, and do not fall victim to any of these scams.


TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

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Specializes in Med-Surg/urology.

Craigslist can be a really helpful site, but you definitely have to watch out for the scam ads. I think you can report suspicious ones.

I don't know if it is a scamming, age discrimination or just plain not knowing the nursing industry and recruiter inexperience(incompetent dumbness). Watch out for Nursing agencies. I went in person to the local branch of a very well known agency( Favorite Healthcare staffing) that had been around for years. To sign up for perdeim shifts during my 8 month unemployment period. The only few shifts I got from this agency was LTC. and stupid me did not file for unemployment- as a result, I used my entire savings to support myself and my 2 daughters at that time. I had never done LTC in my life. I was a 30 year veteran of inpatient acute care hospital units- med surg/oncology and I had built up my most recent experience, (as a permenant employee in this hospital as a staff RN), at that point to be critical care- stepdown and telemetry and comfortable enough to be floated to the ICU and ED. Needless to say I have not been able to get any acute care shifts through this agency or any others for that matter. I continiously received e-mails from this agency. i would apply to the assignements they would e-mail me about only to get a response back- position has been filled. On position was for an 18 week home infusion gig every Sunday for $48/hr. I ended up working with the nurse who got the assignement- she is much younger than I and has no critial care experience!! I wnet on their website recently and the person who used to do the scheduling is now the "branch manager" she is all but 30years old. This is another way the older nurses are being scammed out of the profession- even the agencies are over looking us for shifts. That is why I went looking on my own for my own temp positions.

In my job hunting, even before I got my CNA, I always went to the web site for the potential employer. On most sites they have a "career" link and you can look or search possible job openings. If there was no employer name listed, I passed on the ad. Even good Job Search engines like indeed.com or monster.com had bogus jobs posted or jobs that were already filled or were never in existance. Like anything, it is best if you can go to the business web site or location and inquire. IMHO craigslist is dicey at best also, unless they post a phone number to contact.

I too would be very leary of craigs list. Wasn't there 2 murders associated with 2 me from around Mich or Ohio that answered a job ad on craig's list and were murdered and their bodies were found in 2 different states- Horrific. I don't even go on Craig's list for anything

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

Some job postings on Craigslist are totally legitimate, but others are outright scams that appeal to peoples' inner desires to get something for nothing.

A huge red flag should be waving when the 'employer' offers a much larger salary than usual. The extremely good pay is nothing more than an effective ruse to lure new victims. Or, the 'employer' is willing to pay a lot of money in exchange for relatively menial work such as caregiving, sitting with an elderly adult, etc.

In our society, it has been culturally ingrained that cashiers checks and money orders are secure forms of payment, so people tend to deposit them without giving it much thought. Banks are required to make the funds from the check or money order available to you within 24 hours, but the financial institution often does not discover that the check is fraudulent until more than one week has passed.

Specializes in med-tele/ER.

Some people posts "job ads" on craigslists just to direct you to a website to drive up traffic and they get money, report these people.

Specializes in Psych,Peds,MedSurg,Tele,OB,Subacute.

I know of one in Minnesota when I lived there. A college student in her mid-20's answered and ad for a nanny on Craigslist. It listed a phone #,etc and when she called she spoke to a woman claiming to be the mother and invited her to the home for an interview and to meet the kids. When the girl arrived she was brutally murdered. It turned out it was by a 19 year old boy and this was the home he lived in with his parents who apparently were not at home. Police found her body in the trunk of her car parked at some park if I recall. The kid claimed to be addicted to video games and "just wanted to see what it felt like to REALLY kill someone" :( After this I avoided craiglist and told my collegebound daughter to as well. Scary stuff. It just sucks to think these a$$holes are praying on people needing employment, especially in this dire time.

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

Murders from Craigslist are the exception, not the rule. I have gotten several good jobs from several reputable places from answering Craigslist ads. Just be smart about it. Don't meet at personal residences. Don't give out personal information that can be used in identity theft. Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

Specializes in PACU, LTC, Med-Surg, Telemetry, Psych.

I have uncovered yet another scam targeted at CNAs who are stuck in bad facilities in rough job markets. There are forums like indeed where folks post. There is also a HUGE thread of CNAs begging for the mythical "travel CNA" jobs. Instead of posting fake ads to indeed, they just pose as a recruiter in forums. Then.. they charge the "background check" fee.

I am going, listen... THERE ARE NO TRAVEL FACILITY CNA JOBS! No one in thier right mind is going to pay a CNA's apartment, travel, higher than average salary on top of a headhunters fee! Not when the local workforce can be hired at minumum wage and there are local per diem agencies already in the area that would salivate over a contract like that in these times that agency is hurting bigtime.

In fact, I only have found one or two "legit" CNA "travel" agencies. But, these are the guys that break union attempts. It is only for a short period, only pays CNAs around 16 an hour, and is totally unreliable. They also make you get repricocity. Repricocity for us is not as easy as for RN. Ours is a maze. And you betcha they are going to take folks that live close over anyone else. Plus... the karma! 16/hr for a CNA is great in the south, but it's peanuts where these areas are. Is that enough to screw over CNAs in another state trying to improve life's lot. I will pass.

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.
There is also a HUGE thread of CNAs begging for the mythical "travel CNA" jobs.
A few days ago, someone was 'offered' one of these CNA positions where the supposed 'grandson' of the patient was offering $22 hourly in addition to lump sums for airfare and lodging. However, the so-called 'grandson' was asking for personal information. It was all too good to be true. If you're interested, click on the link below to read about the job scam: