In response to a rash of employment offer scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a scam alert intended to educate job seekers so they can avoid being victimized.

Not only are individuals subject to these scams, but legitimate businesses are spoofed and used to conduct the scams and they only find that out after the fact. It is frustrating when your business name is used by a criminal to conduct fraud and you don’t know it’s happening, how it’s happening, or how to stop it.

How does an employment offer scam work? There are several ways, but one common way is for a fraudster to set up a fake website that spoofs a real business, or spoofs a recruiter from a legitimate business by copying their information from a social media platform.  Fraudsters use the website to offer jobs online, conduct interviews, and then “onboard” the victim. During the “onboarding” process, the fraudster instructs the victim to insert their personal information, including Social Security number, bank account information (all supposedly used to set up payroll) into an online form, or may ask that they purchase certain equipment before starting the job, for which the applicant will be reimbursed once they start the job. If you are searching for a job in the new year, be wary of job offer scams. Check out these tips from the FTC.