Federal and Postal Job Scams
USA Jobs and Monster Contributing Writer
Ads That Don’t Add Up
Federal and postal job scams are among the biggest rackets in employment, preying on consumers who are unemployed or underemployed and can least afford to be “taken.” But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working to protect consumers by tracking down and stopping companies that make deceptive claims about federal and postal jobs.
Gregory Ashe, an FTC attorney, says that by placing ads, the companies deceptively imply that jobs are available. This deception can continue in the sales pitch job seekers get when they call a company for more information. In addition, he says, the companies often deceive applicants into thinking that purchasing their materials will improve their employment chances.
Ten Steps to a Government Job
“There’s a lot of misrepresentation about what job seekers will get for their money,” Ashe says. “There are plenty of folks who don’t realize that there’s no single Civil Service exam, that most federal jobs don’t require a test and that federal employment information is available for free.”
It’s not illegal to sell information about federal jobs, but it is illegal to misrepresent what’s being offered. Based on the number of complaints filed with the FTC’s Consumer Response Center and the nation’s Better Business Bureaus, many people believe that they’ve been deceived. For example:
- A woman earning minimum wage at an Indiana grocery store saw an employment ad as a springboard to a better-paying job with good benefits. She spent almost $80 for a worthless packet because of company claims that buying the materials was the only way to get hired.
- In Georgia, a man responding to a postal job ad agreed to buy a postal exam study booklet and a description of jobs available, only to learn how infrequently the postal exam is actually given. And he never even received the postal job information he had paid almost $160 for.
Government Scams and Myths
- A Texas woman called a company’s toll-free number to find out about park ranger jobs in Colorado and ended up buying an information packet for $39. She declined the postal job materials the company pitched her but received them anyway, along with an unauthorized charge on her credit card.