NC State Extension Publications


During difficult economic times, there are some who take advantage of job seekers by making false claims or using gimmicks in advertisements. These advertisements offer everything from hidden federal job listings to high-paying work-at-home jobs.

North Carolina’s Attorney General’s office offers the following information regarding scams:

  • Check out a company thoroughly before you apply for a job there. You can check with the Attorney General’s Office and your local Better Business Bureau to find out about a company’s track record.

  • Never pay for information about a work-at-home offer or for any kind of start-up kit, instructional booklet or list of clients.

  • Avoid applying for jobs where you’re asked to pay an application fee or required to pay for a training course before the job actually begins.

  • Steer clear of job offers or opportunities that promise you’ll earn a commission by transferring money through your account, cashing checks or working as a secret shopper to test out wire services. These are schemes to steal your money, not legitimate employment opportunities.

  • Be skeptical of employment agencies that guarantee they’ll get you a job, and beware of agencies that charge up-front fees even if they promise you a refund if you aren’t satisfied.

  • Watch out for job interviews that turn out to be recruitment sessions for pyramid schemes. Employment ads in newspapers or on the Internet are sometimes used to recruit new members into the pyramid. Under North Carolina law, a pyramid scheme is any plan in which a participant pays money for the chance to make money when new participants join the program.

To report a potential scam, file a complaint or check out a company, contact the NC Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina.

Source: Consumer Alert: Watch out for employment scams in a tough job market, NCAG, February 17, 2009, used with permission.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.