Common Mental Health Jobs Search Scams and How to Protect Yourself
Mental health jobs can encompass a wide range and most people who enter this field are primarily interested in the prospect of helping others and making a difference. Does that make us gullible? Not necessarily, but we just sometimes try too hard and too long to find the good in just about anything. There isn’t much “good” about online job search scams, though. So, if you looking for mental health jobs online, you need get armed with info that will protect you from scammers that want to rob you of your money, your identity and your time.
Think this can’t possibly happen to you? Think again! Scammers have gotten incredibly good and cunning. The Federal Trade Commission recently refunded $2.3 million to cover 90,000 consumers in the U.S. “who were allegedly charged hidden fees by a fake work-at-home service that used Google’s name to advertise. The online work-at-home operation, which operated under the names Google Money Tree, Google Pro and Google Treasure Chest, deceptively used Google’s name and logo…. The operation promised that consumers could earn $100,000 in six months after signing up to receive a work-at-home kit for a shipping fee of under $4…. The operation didn’t tell consumers that, by ordering the work-at-home kit, they were disclosing their account information and would be charged an additional $72.21 each month, the FTC said.”
Here’s what you need to know:
- Watch out for Fake URLs – You may see job listings that appear to be for big-name companies that link to a website for the company. However, if you take a close look at the URL or do a separate search for the company itself (recommended), you’ll find that it’s actually a fake website that was set up for the purposes of a scam.
- Using Big Company Names – As above, just because a big company name is used doesn’t mean it can be trusted. You’ll still need to do your homework and be on the lookout for “red flags”. What’s a red flag? If you are being asked to “purchase” anything before starting work, such as a “kit” or to provided personal information like bank account numbers, these are huge red flags indicating a scam.
- Sense of Urgency – When you are looking for a job, a company that wants you “right now” sounds like a God-Send. Not so fast. Some scammers use urgency to get you to act without thinking and work without getting paid.
- Strange Interview Tactics – If the company wants to interview you only over IM (instant message) or only in the evening, take this as a big bucket of red flags. While many interviews for work-at-home type jobs take place over Skype, they don’t take place on anonymous IM accounts or during off-business hours. If they want to conduct a phone interview, ask for a number to call THEM instead of providing your number.
- Research the Company – There are dozens of sites dedicated to exposing scam behavior online so be sure to research any company that contacts you through a job board about employment that may raise some red flags for you. This is the quickest way to identify a potential scam. Here is one of those sites to check out.
Finally, the most important thing to do when looking for mental health jobs online is to simply trust your gut. Job search scams and scammers are hoping that, in your desperation for employment, you’ll fork over either some money or some key personal information. Stay alert and follow our suggestions as you continue your job search.