By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News

As if it isn’t tough enough finding a job with the unemployment rate around 10 percent, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning to jobseekers about scammers taking advantage of the current weak economy by targeting unemployed people desperate to work, scams including false background checks and unnecessary credit report checks.

Since not thoroughly researching a job opportunity can result in jobseekers losing money instead of gaining employment because of job-related scams, the BBB has identified common job scam “red flags” to help jobseekers to protect themselves while they search for a job. The BBB recommends jobseekers look out for the following seven red flags:

  • The employer asks for money upfront for a background check or training: The BBB has heard about jobseekers that paid phony employers upfront fees for supposedly required background checks or training for jobs that didn’t exist.
  • The employer requires check of a credit report: The BBB warns that employers that ask job applicants to check their credit reports before they get work may be attempting to get the jobseekers to divulge sensitive financial information.
  • The employer offers the opportunity to become rich without leaving home: The BBB advises jobseekers to be use extreme caution when considering a work-at-home offer and always research the company with BBB at
  • The employer offers salary and benefits that seem too-good-to-be-true: The BBB uses an old adage – “If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” – to demonstrate how phony employers lure unsuspecting job hunters into their scam.
  • The employer’s e-mails have many errors in grammar and spelling: The BBB warns that online fraud is often done by scammers outside the U.S. and English is not their first language, as evidenced by poor grammar and misspelling of common words.
  • The employer asks for personal information too quickly: The BBB warns that job applicants should never give out their Social Security Numbers or bank account information over the phone or by email until they confirm the job is legitimate.
  • The employer requires money wire transactions or dealing of goods: The BBB also warns jobseekers about cashing checks sent by companies and wiring a portion of the money to another entity or receiving and mailing suspicious goods.

Job scams targeting jobseekers, especially those involving background checks and credit reports, are on the rise in the down economy. Recently, ESR News posted a blog about an alleged job scam in Michigan that involved jobseekers paying money up front for what turned out to be phony background checks for jobs that did not even exist.

For more information about the Better Business Bureau, visit

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at