Employment Fraud

Employment fraud consists of two different types. One type, known as occupational fraud, involves the scamming of individuals seeking employment, and the other type involves individuals scamming legitimate companies offering employment.

With occupational fraud, thieves develop fraudulent companies, and seek out the employment of individuals looking for legitimate work. They lure individuals to apply for the positions by offering them easy work, high wages, flexible hours, and other "too good to be true" offers. Once they have hired those individuals, the thieves will entangle them into their illegal schemes. These individuals usually end up committing fraud, identity theft and embezzlement unknowingly.

The second type of employment fraud involves thieves gathering an individual's personal information, and using it to obtain employment fraudulently. By doing this, the thieves also destroy that individual's chances of future employment as well as their credit.

Employment Fraud: Fraudulent Job or Company

Employment fraud for the purpose of seeking out individuals to work for a fraudulent company is generally committed and carried out through a variety of different means, including phishing, envelop stuffing, and work at home scams:

1) Phishing scams
Phishing for employment purposes involves posting nonexistent, fraudulent jobs that appear to be legitimate. Once an individual applies to the fake position, scammers obtain their personal information, including their full names, addresses, social security numbers and emails, through their filled out applications. The scammers then sell the information to third parties.
2) Reshipping scams
Reshipping scams offer individuals employment as reshippers. Once the scam artists obtain individuals' trust, they send packages, which are actually stolen, to their houses, and ask them to ship the packages to other scam artists unknowingly.
3) Envelope stuffing scams
These scams promise individuals high wages if they stuff envelopes from home, and they request that the individuals pay a registration fee along with a supplies fee. In actuality, those people never see any money, and they also end up recruiting others into the scam through advertisements.

Employment Fraud: Stolen Identity for Employment

The second type of employment fraud, where thieves steal an individual's identity and use it to gain employment, often requires that they obtain all of the individual's personal details. Employment thieves will steal identities much the same way that other identity thieves do:

1) Dumpster diving
Thieves will dig through trash in order to obtain pieces of personal information from old mail and advertisements, including any addresses, date of births, social security numbers, and account numbers
2) Pretexting
Thieves will use false pretenses to obtain personal information from various companies, including financial institutions, internet companies and other sources.
3) Stealing
Thieves will also steal purses and wallets to obtain the identification necessary to gain employment, including driver's licenses, checks, passports, and social security cards.

How to Protect Against Employment Fraud

Individuals can protect against occupational fraud when applying for jobs by:

  1. 1) Confirming that a business is legitimate. All businesses that offer employment should be checked out using the yellow pages, search engines, and other means.
  2. 2) Asking for references. Individuals should ask for a company's employee references if they feel that the offers are outlandish, or if there is no immediate searchable information about the company.
  3. 3) Receiving all offers and promises in writing. All promises, such as higher salary and benefits, should be requested in writing before individuals divulge their personal details to the company.
  4. 4) Restricting the type of information given out. Individuals should not give out optional information to employers, including their social security numbers and driver's license numbers.
  5. 5) Asking questions. Thorough questions should be asked of the employer, including position details, company history, and policies.
  6. 6) Using the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau's website, www.bbb.org, should be used to verify that the company is legitimate.

To prevent thieves from using identities fraudulently for employment purposes, individuals should:

  1. 1) Shred documents before throwing them out. This way, identity thieves will not be able to gather personal information from the trash.
  2. 2) Check credit scores several times a year. Individuals should check their credit scores for any inquiries that employers might make, which could raise red flags.
  3. 3) Place all important documents in a safe place. Do not carry around unnecessary important documents, including passports, social security cards, and other documentation that could be used to gain employment.

Along with the above tips, individuals should also follow the standard practices for protecting their identities against thieves.

Identity Theft Protection Services

Identity theft protection services, including LifeLock, TrustedID, and IdentityGuard, provide extensive protection against the fraudulent use of identities by offering:

  • free credit scores
  • automatic fraud alerts
  • lost wallet/purse assistance
  • internet patrol
  • black market scanning

Investing in an identity theft protection service can save individuals the hassle of looking after their identities as well as time and money recovering from identity theft.


The two types of employment fraud can devastate an individual's credit and ruin their chances of future employment. If they get deeply entangled in an illegal scam, individuals can also be arrested and charged with crimes. Therefore, it is imperative that all individuals protect themselves against the two types of employment fraud through education and commonsense prevention, and by investing in a reputable identity theft protection plan.

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