After receiving a call on the fraud line from a concerned citizen who almost fell for what appeared to be a legitimate classified ad, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is asking residents seeking employment via the internet to use caution when supplying personal information online.
The caller reported they were using the very popular website “Craigslist” to search for job openings under the headings of “Food/Beverage/Hospitality” and “Sales”. The caller inquired via e-mail to (2) two ads “allegedly” posted by a local restaurant chain and car dealership. When he received response e-mails from the “companies”, he noticed they were very similar, requesting he fill out an attached application that asked for personal information, including his social security number.
The caller was not comfortable giving out his information via e-mail and decided to go to both locations and apply in person. He quickly discovered that neither company had job openings; they didn’t advertise on Craigslist and stated they would never ask a prospective employee to provide that type of personal information online.
Multiple websites are available to consumers looking for work. Most of the advertised job opportunities are from reputable and legitimate business owners, however you must be careful about providing a scammer personal information that could lead to identity theft.
Remember these tips to ensure online safety:
• Never give your social security number or banking information to someone you do not know.
• If possible, contact the company who posted the ad to confirm they are accepting applications for employment.
• Be leery of submissive invitations such as, “We saw your resume on the Internet, and we find your skill set to be perfect for one of our clients. Please complete our online application through the below link.”
The lesson job seekers should learn is to avoid giving your information out freely. Much like you’ll analyze job opportunities; intensely examine each person who asks for your personal information, and then proceed with caution.
To report a fraud or scam contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-477-1242 or www.ftc.gov and/or www.ic3.gov. Media inquiries should be directed to 239-477-1481.