From the Better Business Bureau:
TYLER - BBB Serving Central East Texas is warning East Texas job seekers to be aware of individuals posing as potential employers in an attempt to collect personal information by offering non-existent jobs.
The Tyler office of Workforce East Texas has received 35-40 calls from job seekers who have received unsolicited text messages from bogus employers using the names of established businesses to interview job candidates via online chats in an attempt to retrieve personally identifiable information including bank account information.
BBB is warning job seekers about job offers which promise what may appear to be a lucrative job opportunity, but is nothing more than a sophisticated scam.
"We always advise consumers to do their homework before making a purchase", said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. "They should likewise do so during a job search."
Fake employers may use the names of well-established national or local businesses in a practice known as corporate identity theft, or as it is also known, "name hijacking." In this case the scam artists, posing as an international company, contacts individuals who have recently updated their resumes via SMS (text message) and instructs them to conduct an interview online via chat room. During the "interview" they make attempts to get personal information, or money, or both.
"Workforce East Texas will not attempt to contact you via email, nor will they instruct potential employers to do so", said Stephen Lynch, Workforce East Texas Area Operations Manager.
BBB offers the following tips to avoid being taken by this or similar employment scams:
Do your homework. Check out the business' website to make sure the opening is posted. If you are still skeptical, call the business to check on the position. Don't rely on websites or phone numbers provided in the advertisement; find the "employer" on your own to make sure it's the real deal.
Do not be fooled by official-sounding corporate names. Some scam artists operate under names that sound like those of long-standing, reputable firms.
Legitimate employers will not conduct employment interviews via chatroom.
Protect your personal information. Job seekers should never provide their social security number or birth date until they have verified the position is legitimate. Additionally, job seekers should never provide bank account information for direct deposit setup until they have officially been hired.
Never send anyone money to someone who has offered you a job.
Remember, if there's high pay for little work and little experience, it's probably a scam.
Job-Seekers should not respond to text messages from "potential employers". Forward any suspicious text messages to 7726 (SPAM). Your provider will flag the number and block them from being able to contact you.