How to recognize and protect yourself from fraud and deception when searching for and finding a job: signs of scammers, reviews(references, opinions) about employers
§ Scams in the ads as to work-at-home jobs, e-work and vacancies for skilled workers
Apart from the danger to become a victim of human-trafficking organizations and dishonest intermediaries, which was described on the dedicated page of our website (Protect yourself to avoid forced bonded labour and human trafficking), there are multiple ads on jobs, which are published by swindlers and scammers seeking to find a suitable victim that can be involved into mediation in theft, or simply be robbed. On this page we shall highlight the essence of swindling as well as the methods that would help to discern and evade it.
Principles of swindling:
- Offer to be a mediator in deals;
- Identity theft – taking your personal documents;
- Down-payment, provision of unnecessary paid services;
- Job offer for which no payment will follow.
Offer to be a mediator in deals
The group of job-offer ads published by swindlers includes the offers of such job as mediation in all sorts of deals. This kind of swindling is being practiced most efficiently in relation to residents in Germany and other countries. You would receive an offer to become a mediator in dispatch of parcels from Internet shops: the essence of the legend is that a firm in Russia or Ukraine places orders in Internet shops of Germany or other European countries, but the given sellers do not provide dispatch of goods to these countries. Therefore, a mediator is needed, who will receive the ordered and paid-up parcels at his / her home address, stick another address as given by the swindlers, and dispatch this parcel thereto. It may seem that the employee has no problems as the parcels and dispatch are already paid-up, and Internet shops really do not provide dispatch to the CIS countries. The essence of swindling is in the fact that the ordered goods are purchased and paid-up by stolen credit cards or other means of payment. Receiving the parcels and dispatching them to other countries, the “employee” becomes a criminal and gets involved in the swindle, because the order was made to send the goods to their address, s/he received the parcel and dispatched it somewhere, while the so-called “employer”, with whom no labour contract and other formalities have been signed, would remain “clean”.
Another kind of similar swindling is the offer: to be a mediator in money remittance. In this case, the essence of the legend is that a foreign firm sells its goods or services in Europe, but the consumers either do not have an opportunity to make payment or the money remittance is very expensive and thus the deal is not worthwhile. Therefore, an “employee” is needed, who would receive money from the so-called “clients” and remit it to the “employer’s” account via the available payment systems. The arriving money has been stolen, and remitting it as a mediator the person becomes a partner in swindling, while the actual organizer, who resides in another country and is difficult to be found, usually is beyond reach for the police.
The offer to be a mediator in dispatch of parcels or remittance of money is swindling with stolen credit cards.
Identity theft – taking your personal documents
What does the "identity theft" mean? The given term is applied in order to describe the kind of swindling with somebody’s personal documents. Swindlers seek to take hold of their victim’s personal documents or copies thereof in order to use them so that on behalf of the victim to commit illegal actions, take big loans, as well as to rob the victim, etc. Therefore, while offering a job, the swindlers would request the would-be employees to provide copies of passport, birth certificate, social security card or driving license, address, a photo, etc. As soon as the would-be “employee” sends copies of their documents to the swindler, the latter becomes disinterested in him / her, and the “job” is not provided.
Swindlers seek to take hold of the personal documents copies and then to use them so that to take big loans of the victim’s behalf.
Down-payment, provision of unnecessary paid services
Another kind of swindling, which you may come across while looking for a job, is seen in all sorts of down-payment for the mediation services in finding the job offer or reimbursement of the firm’s expenses made in connection with your job placement. For example, you may be informed that in order to get a job you need to purchase some special software or books, or to pay for training, as otherwise the job being offered may not be provided. In other cases the so-called agency would request you to pay some of its expenses connected with dispatch of documents, or as a matter of pledge for reservation of the offered job for you. There is another option: for communication, the swindlers would give only a payable-service telephone number. The person would remit money, pay for the telephone talks, but would not get any job as a result.
Swindlers demand payment as early as before a job is provided.
Job offer for which no payment will follow
Another group of ads on vacant jobs presumes that the “employee” will provide services or work without receiving any reward for them/it. For instance, a person would receive an offer to perform some work via the Internet, or to work at home making toys, imitation jewelry, or something else. The swindler would receive the products of such labour but would not pay his /her victim for the provided service, and would simply disappear or refer to some suddenly emerged problems.
You should also be careful about job offers from other countries: sometimes a person receives an offer to be engaged in business and to this end, to purchase machines or materials. The person would do so, but then it happens that the produced commodity may not be sold in his / her country without the respective license, or because the commodity does not comply with the set standards.
The person performs the work, for which no payment will follow.
§ How to recognize fraudsters and scammers offering jobs? 7 signs of fraud.
Job offers from swindlers and scammers often have common features. The following list presents 7 features, which will help you to recognize the swindlers’ ads. Of course, this list is not comprehensive and does not guarantee recognition of all fraudulent job offers.
- If a job offer looks too attractive and promises minimum workload and maximum reward, it is most likely that it was published by swindlers;
- Fraudulent job offers are oriented to all and everybody, as their main purpose is to arouse interest on the part of as many people as possible. Education and work experience are not compulsory;
- The ad does not contain the firm name or address, while the presented contact data include only the mobile telephone number and / or e-mail address, and / or a social network profile;
- If you are offered to be an intermediary in parcel dispatch, money remittance, etc., it is most likely that the offer comes from swindlers;
- If you have to pay money for something as early as before your actual employment starts, it does not make sense to trust such an offer, as you will give away money but will not get the job;
- If the job-offering firm is located in another country, you will have very little opportunities to check their offer. Many swindlers operate from abroad;
- The ad does not present any details of the job and just says that the work is not difficult, is supposed to be done at home or via the Internet, etc.
§ How to protect yourself from cheating when applying for a job? 10 useful tips.
In order not to become a victim of fraudulent job offers, check all the information being received and be attentive. The following list contains 10 useful tips, which will help you to act reasonably and to evade fraud whenever possible.
- Do not provide copies of your personal documents to those, who are not entitled to have such, and especially to unfamiliar persons, or to whoever via the Internet or by telephone;
- Find out more details of the would-be employer, such as: postal address, landline telephone number, and reviews, references, other people’s opinions about the said employer. Look up for such details in major, payable Internet catalogues or in printed publications. If possible, check the address and telephone number;
- Sometimes swindlers introduce themselves as employees of an actually existing company. Find the true details of this company, call there, and find out if it really offers a vacant job. If the answer is “No”, inform them on the fact of swindling;
- Some swindlers even copy the website of the company, on behalf of which they offer a job, and place such a copy by another Internet address. Be sure to check if the website address as specified by the job-offering person is different from the address of the company’s official website. This can be done simply by the Google search of the company’s name and address;
- Look for the details (address, telephone number, name and surname of the contact person, and the company name) in the Google search system. Look up for every detail in combination with such words as “swindler”, “scammer”, and “fraud”. The victims of such swindlers often share their negative experience on different websites;
- Keep all e-mail messages and information sent to you by the supposed “employer”. This will help in future, when you turn to the police, should such a measure become necessary;
- By all means receive the employment contract, signed by the employer, from the job-offering person. Do not start working unless you receive such a properly signed contract;
- Read the employment contract scrupulously as it has to contain precise and specific details. If it contains mostly just general phrases, it will not make sense to trust the given “employer”;
- If, in the course of your job placement, you receive money, which has to be remitted to somewhere else, immediately inform the police of such a fact;
- Be attentive in communication with the would-be employer, because swindlers often change names, as well as company names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Besides, they often communicate with several clients at one and the same time. Should you notice any discrepancies, do not leave them unattended.
§ Assistance to victims of fraud and deception
If you have become a victim of swindling or have been fraudulently involved in swindling as an accomplice, you should urgently turn to the local police department. Besides, you may write your statement to the police through the Internet, and in this case you should first select the respective land(federated state) of Germany. Besides, it would make sense to receive a copy of the police charge sheet as probably you will need to present it in the bank or another institution if / when you have to prove that you have become a victim of fraud.
Assistance to victims of identity theft
Having become an identity theft victim, you would find it very difficult if ever possible to get rid of its implications entirely. However, here is the list of measures to be taken:
- notify your bank and other organizations, which opened your credit cards, of what has happened;
- notify the swindle-revealing departments of credit agencies and write statements thereto requesting to issue loans in your name only after your confirmation;
- probably, you will need to open a new bank account and to change your credit cards;
- do not engage in self-castigation, make proper conclusions, and go on living; you are not to blame for what has happened, - rather, you are the victim.
§ Stories of victims of fraud: sent to Support Desk
|Story 1||A firm operating in timber transportation has published its Internet ad offering a job in the position of a Regional Representative in the territory of Germany. The ad contains no details of this vacancy. For contact purposes, only a Russian-based e-mail address and the website address are presented. In the course of his contact with the swindler, a Russian-speaking resident of Germany finds out that the firm needs an intermediary for remittance of money. The swindler promises him a long-term cooperation and many other benefits. The man receives the blank contract, signs it, and sends it together with his passport copy to the given firm. The firm does not return him the fully executed contract. In the course of his “work” the “employee” receives money stolen from German citizens’ accounts (several thousand euros) and remits it to the swindler.|
|Story 2||An agency firm places a worker from abroad for construction works and legalizes him in Germany as a private entrepreneur, with whom it signs the contract of works performance. The firm deducts from his wages a large amount of money – allegedly, to pay taxes and social contributions. Actually, however, taxes are not paid (and cannot be paid, because private entrepreneurs have to pay their taxes themselves). Thus, the worker receives curtailed wages, does not pay taxes, and builds up his debt to the state.|
|Story 3||The Internet ad offers a job for a kindergarten manager. The published contact details contain a Russian-based e-mail address and a mobile telephone number in Germany. The employee performs his / her work, but does not receive any salary as a result.|
§ Employer reviews, experience of former employees of companies in Germany
In Germany, there are large and trustful Web portals presenting employees’ opinions on their employers. Before you get placed for a job, it would be worthwhile reading such opinions and thus get an idea of the company as an employer – i. e., to realize the kind of its work environment, the level of salaries, etc. Here is the list of several Web portals of Germany with reviews, opinions about employers.
- Kununu - the largest portal on employers in Germany, which covers over 700,000 employers.
- MeinChef - the portal covering the job search issues, with references, opinions on employers in Germany.
- Jobvoting - presents reviews, references on over 140,000 employers in Germany.
In job postings, that you can find on our website, Germany's online newspaper for migrants and foreigners, there is also an opportunity to write and read reviews that help in deciding on a job choice.