Internet scams target online job seekers

FRESNO, Calif.

The days of staring at job boards and perusing newspaper classifieds, have given way to a more effective, efficient and economical way to find employment.

Millions of users visit job search sites like Monster, CareerBuilder, even Craigslist. Making them prime fishing grounds for scammers hoping any one of those job hunters take their bait, of a job offer too good to be true.

Brian Korpiel said, "When it sounds too good to be true, 10 to 1 it is."

Korpiel says not only did a job he took turn out to be a fake, but so did the paycheck the company sent him.

"I think it's terrible," said Korpiel. "There's a lot of piranhas out there, they're preying on people who are vulnerable, who will do what it takes to get employment."

Especially because the Better Business Bureau warns, the latest job search scam ends with identity theft.

Blair Looney, Better Business Bureau said, "Whether they're going to invade your bank account or impersonate you. Once identity theft occurs it's very difficult to slow it down."

Here's what can happen: first the scammer e-mails the victim with a specific job offer -- which seems to match their qualifications. Search functions on the sites make it easy for anyone to focus on specific job candidates and customize their scam.

The phony employer then sends the victim an application -- asking them to fill out personal information as part of the employment process.

The forms often ask for driver's license numbers, social security numbers claiming background checks, even checking account numbers for direct deposit.

Looney said, "Most people are so enthusiastic and excited that they're providing the information without checking the company out."

We showed the form to applicants at a recent job fair for the Big Fresno Fair. Many said the fake form looked legitimate.

"It Does, Yeah."

"It Actually Looks Like It, Yes."

"Yeah, It Looks Pretty Legit."

Tim Giles manages the site CentralValleyJobs.com. He says be wary of unsolicited job offers with unusually good pay and hours. Also, make sure to check out any companies -- looking extra closely at ones out-of-town. But most importantly, never give out private information during the initial application process.

Tim Giles, Workforce Investment Board said, "In most cases, a lot of it's optional so you don't necessarily have to provide a lot of personal information. You have to be careful with your personal information. You have to guard it."

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