Recession spawning job scams

The sour economy is spawning more job scams targeting out-of-work Americans, experts say.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that many job hunters are being approached with e-mail offers of employment. Invariably they ask for money up front. Consumer advocates warn they are likely scams, the newspaper says.

The U.S. Consumer Protection Agency received several thousand complaints a year about bogus headhunters and employment and placement agencies. It’s only getting worse with an estimated 3.6 million more U.S. workers unemployed.

“There’s always people out there willing to take advantage of people’s misery,” said Chris Thetford, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois. “I’ve never met anyone who had to pay to get a legitimate job.”

There are efforts to try to catch these predators. For example, the Federal Trade Commission filed a federal court complaint in November against a Georgia outfit charging $120 to $140 for materials to help applicants pass a U.S. Postal Service qualifying exam.

In early 2008, the Ohio attorney general fined a personnel service for enticing clients to pay $389 for a connection to nonexistent jobs.

But, the experts say, beware because more scam artists are out there.

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