THE HELP DESK The Help Desk: Top Tips

Job offers too good to be true

Looking for a job? Not only is it harder to find one in this economy, but now you have to watch out for scam artists.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

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For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- According to the Better Business Bureau, more and more people are susceptible to schemes that prey on people looking for employment. The long-term unemployed may become desperate; certainly they're vulnerable. Creditors may be knocking at their door.

1. What's going on

Some common schemes include having to pay for a credit report to even be considered for a job. You may be asked to fill out personal information on what is, in reality, a fake job application form. Or there may be a fee charged for a background check.

Scam artists may try to get victims involved in a money laundering scheme involving counterfeit checks.

Scammers may try to get people involved in work at home scams where people have to pay money upfront for services that are never delivered.

2. Know the red flags

Here are some signs to watch out for. First, beware of spelling or grammatical errors. Most online fraud is done by scammers who are located outside the U.S. And their first language usually isn't English.

Be wary of requests for your Social Security number. And don't believe any claim that you can get rich quickly.

3. Use care when posting your information

You shouldn't have to worry about using online job sites like Monster.com or Hotjobs.com. Just be careful what kind of information you release. Monster.com has a feature where you can keep some of the info on your resume private. But realize that even the most innocent information can compromise your identity.

Even where you graduated can present a problem because some thieves may try to access your student ID number -- which COULD be the same as your Social Security number. Don't put down your address on your resume; a potential employer isn't going to be sending you anything through snail mail just yet.

If you have any suspicions, make sure you report it to the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org.

-- CNN's Jen Haley contributed to this article.

Got a financial dilemma? Go to CNNMoney.com/helpdesk to submit questions, read the Help Desk articles and check out new Help Desk videos. And tune in to CNN's Newsroom Tuesdays and Fridays, when Gerri Willis and other experts answer your questions. To top of page

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