What you need to know to avoid being a victim

Criminal minds are always thinking up creative ways to make quick money by taking advantage of people.  Scams involving companies advertising phony job placement and training provide plentiful examples.   In fact, since June 1, 2017 the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker has received 3,316 filed complaints from individuals in the U.S.--169 of them coming from New York State.   

How does a typical security guard job placement and training scam work?  The fraudsters start by posting fake jobs on reputable online job sites.  The people who apply are contacted by a representative who sets up an “interview meeting.”  The meeting can be anywhere such as at an office or local coffee shop.  One victim reported an operation that rented space in a large Manhattan office building for its meetings, giving applicants confidence that the business was legitimate.  When applicants returned for their follow-up meetings the following week, the company had left, having collected thousands of dollars from victims during the one-week rental period. 

At the meeting, different schemes to get your money are presented.  Some say you need to pay them for your uniform and “processing fee.”  Others say you need to pay them for “security guard training courses” before you can start.  The fees can range from $100 to over $1000—whatever they feel they can steal from you—and be paid before the meeting ends (always only cash or money order).  Some may even request your social security number so they can run a “security check”, creating opportunities for identity theft. 

After you pay them, they tell you where and when to meet, whether for training or an actual job.  The locations they give can be actual employers.  When applicants show up, they are told that they have never heard of the referral company.  For training follow-up, a bogus address is given. 

Some tips for you and others you know to avoid being scammed: 

  1. On job websites.  Make sure the business is legitimate before sending your resume.  Look at its website.  Do a search on Better Business Bureau.  Avoid companies that use free email services (like @gmail.com, @yahoo.com) instead of a professional business email (one that uses its business name). 
  2. Employment Agencies.  Check the company’s license.  Most New York employment agencies must be licensed with the New York State Department of Labor.  Avoid services that say they can guarantee a job.  Read contracts thoroughly before signing.  
  3. Overall.  Avoid job offers that require payment for training or uniforms.  Never give your bank account or credit card information when applying for a job. 

Get more information  out the BBB's post, Beware of Scams That Turn Job Hunters Into Prey.   Also check out BBB's  Scam Tracker™️ where you can report scams and read reports from actual victims (type in Employment in type and use "security guard" as keyword to read scams related to security guard employment).

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