More so than any other large media company, the New York Times is doing a phenomenal service for the unemployed by prominently highlighting the job scams that prey on job seekers. Over the past few weeks, the Times has run a number of stories that describe the most common job scams and ripoff services that are thriving as job seekers become increasingly desperate in their job search. Unfortunately, most of these scams rely on pay-to-post job boards (especially high traffic ones) to lure unsuspecting job seekers by posting fake job ads.
In a New York Times story yesterday, the Arthur Group was identified as a scam headhunting firm that posted ads throughout Careerbuilder to attract and dupe its victims. That story accompanied a front page Times story that exposed ITS and Benchmark Professional Careers as bogus ‘career management’ or ‘career marketing’ companies that add little to no value for their clients yet charge absurdly high fees (paid up-front, of course). The companies, and others like them, have been sued by and banned from doing business in various states, but they still manage to survive and thrive like cockroaches.
In another Times piece from August 8th, entitled ‘Online Scammers Target The Jobless,’ Riva Richmond identifies the most common job scams that plague traditional pay-to-post job boards today. These scams include up-front payments for materials or training, links to online forms that result in identity theft, mystery shopper positions, work-from-home scams, and ‘money-mule’ or reshipper scams. In all of these cases, the scams rely on pay-to-post job boards (Geebo.com was cited as one example in the article) to find and dupe their victims.
In that article, one of the pieces of advice that Richmond offers is to use niche job boards rather than the large mega-job boards like Careerbuilder and Monster. This is decent advice and probably would eliminate a sizeable chunk of risk, but even better advice for job seekers would be to use job sites such as LinkUp that do not allow companies to post jobs directly onto the site. LinkUp is a job search engine that only lists jobs that are found on company and employer websites themselves. Equally as important, LinkUp also does not list job openings from other job boards (which carry the same risks therefore as the mega-job boards themselves), which makes LinkUp entirely unique among job search engines.
In any event, I applaud the New York Times for prominently highlighting the fraud that unfortunately afflicts a large portion of the recruitment advertising industry. I wish more people in our industry were doing more themselves to protect job seekers.