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Work From Home and Employment Scams
Job-related scams are not new, but they are on the rise. Con artists are taking advantage of people who lost work during the pandemic. And those who are looking for work-from-home positions.
Signs of an employment scam
Most job searchers go online and post their resume on job search sites or social media apps. Unfortunately, both legitimate employers and scammers also post job openings on these platforms. Watch for some of these red flags:
- You receive an unsolicited request for an immediate interview.
- Poor spelling or grammar in a job offer email.
- The email comes from a personal email account rather than a business account.
- The interview is conducted only online through video chats.
- Offers a salary that is higher than normal for that position.
- There are up-front money requests for things like start-up equipment or background checks.
- A job is offered without verifying work experience or asking for references.
Variations of the employment scam
- When you are asked to pay up-front you are promised reimbursement with your first paycheck. The scammers now have your money and possibly bank information. You will not receive a paycheck.
- They send you a check to cover start-up costs. You are asked to deposit the check and send money to their IT/equipment partner to cover these costs. The check is fake. It will sit in your account long enough for you to send the money. You will be notified that it was a fraudulent check. You are responsible for repaying the bank. See Michigan Attorney General Counterfeit Check Scams.
- You are hired to reship items sent to your home. You must inspect, repackage, and ship them to another location. You never receive payment for your work. When you confront them, they claim they are having issues with their payroll. Or they may claim the packages you sent were never received. Which they then take those costs out of your “paycheck.” You soon will be unable to communicate with them.
- Some scammers create their own employee onboarding portals. You may be asked to log in and electronically enter your contact information. They may also request tax and direct deposit forms. You have unknowingly given your personal and financial information to the con artist.
- Be suspicious of unsolicited emails. Especially if they come from unfamiliar sources.
- Check that the email address comes from the company’s domain. It should not come from a personal or unaffiliated email.
- Do an online search for that company using their name or the sender’s name. Include the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
- Contact the company directly with the contact information you confirmed is theirs.
- Check out the company on the Better Business Bureau's website.
- Beware of a company that refuses to send written information or provide a physical street address before you commit to taking a job.
- Beware of any company that sends you a check and asks you to advance money out of your own bank account.
- Contact the Michigan Department of Attorney General, Consumer Protection Team, at 877-765-8388 to see if there have been any complaints filed against this company.
When searching online for a job
Use safe and reliable sources, including:
- USAJobs.gov — is the federal government’s official site with job openings nationwide.
- CareerOneStop — is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop lists hundreds of thousands of jobs. It also links to employment and training programs in each state.
- USA.gov — hosts local government websites, which list any open positions they may have on their websites.
- Job Seekers – provides information about job opportunities in Michigan.
- SOM Job Openings – lists open positions with the State of Michigan.
For more information, visit the Michigan Department of Attorney General's website for frequent alerts on various scams.
Contact the Attorney General's Office
If you have a consumer complaint, or believe you've been the victim of a scam, please file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Team at:
Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Toll free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form