Federal and Postal Job Scams
USA Jobs and Monster Contributing Writer
When these and other victims called the companies for the refund guaranteed if the job seeker was not hired, their calls were transferred to a voice-mail black hole.
Lydia Parnes, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stresses it’s not necessary for consumers to pay for information about job vacancies with the US government or the Postal Service. Federal agencies and the Postal Service never charge application fees or guarantee a hire. And although the Postal Service requires applicants to take a test, it typically offers free sample questions and study materials. In addition, Parnes says it’s deceptive for anyone to guarantee that a person will get any particular score on the postal entrance exams or that a high score means someone will get a job.
The FTC, the US Office of Personnel Management and the US Postal Service caution consumers to watch out for:
Ten Steps to a Government Job
- Classified ads or verbal sales pitches implying an affiliation with the federal government, guaranteeing high test scores or jobs, or stating, “no experience necessary.”
- Ads that offer information about “hidden” or unadvertised federal jobs.
- Ads that refer to a toll-free phone number. Often, an operator encourages the caller to buy a booklet containing job listings, practice test questions and entrance exam tips.
Government Scams and Myths
- Toll-free numbers that direct consumers to other pay-per-call numbers for more information. Under federal law, any solicitations for these numbers must contain full disclosures about the cost. The solicitations also must make clear any affiliation with the federal government. The caller must have the chance to hang up before incurring charges.
Postal job information is available at post offices. In many areas, the Postal Service offers a job information hotline with current hiring announcements. Other federal job information is available from GovCentral and the Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS Web site. You can also check out LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com.