The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the annual Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book Tuesday covering the 2012 calendar year, pointing out that unemployed people are most at risk for fraud.
The 104-page document mentions some 32,496 complaints related to work-at-home plans, employment agencies, and pyramid schemes. Desperation may drive some applicants to hand out vital information such as social security numbers or bank and credit details online without so much as a phone call from a prospective employer.
The report also contains millions of consumer complaints received by the FTC in collaboration with a patchwork of state federal regulatory and law enforcement bodies and various non-governmental organizations, such as the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Even for those who are savvy enough not to fall victim to the dozens of schemes to separate applicants from their money, the glut of shady job agency pitches on the web can discourage applicants from using otherwise useful websites such as Craigslist and Monster.
In fact, merely reading a blog post such as this one causes most internet browsers to generate targeted ads for questionable recruitment websites. Unfortunately, the traditional method of searching for jobs is no picnic either. When job fairs happen they are chronically over-attended and designed to quickly dismiss applicants on the margins.
This is what America look like when 22.7 million people are unemployed or underemployed. Job hunts are a mix of online scams and dead end interviews for low-wage jobs, even for the capable and educated.
Five years into The Great Recession how is America’s “new normal” affecting the employment prospects of you or your loved ones? Please share in the comments section below.