Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Attorney General Rob McKenna and job seeker Dan Quigley were on KING 5’s New Day Northwest this morning to talk about job search scams. Although it appears our state’s economy is recovering, Washington’s unemployment rate is 9.5 percent and close to 350,000 residents are looking for work. Criminals know people are desperate and they’re preying on that by going for the very people who can least afford to be ripped off.

Dan, a laid-off software engineer who has been looking for work for more than two years, called me back in January 2009 to alert me to a type of employment scam that’s become increasingly popular. Dan posted his resume on several job search Web sites. His wife, while trying to help her husband find work, received an innocent-looking e-mail message that included a link to a Web site that supposedly contained jobs announcements for engineers. When she clicked on the link, the site downloaded malicious software. Dan ultimately had to reformat the computer’s hard drive.

Job seekers also have to watch out for phony e-mail messages that appear to come from interested employers. They ask you to provide personal information to complete an application. Never include your Social Security number, driver’s license or birth date on an online resume or share this information until you have confirmed that the employer and the job offer are genuine.

Reputable career Web sites will provide you with the opportunity to communicate with potential employers via a confidential e-mail address, so that your real e-mail address remains private. That can help reduce annoying spam and deceptive job offers.

And as many times as we’ve said it on All Consuming, it’s worth repeating that you should never pay upfront for a job.

Dan expects to find out tomorrow whether he has a job. We’re crossing our fingers for him.

[UPDATE: Congratulations, Dan! He was hired!]

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