Be a Smart Job Seeker and Avoid Online Fraud.docx
A new scam involving the exploit of California’s COVID-19 contact tracing program.
“California Connected”, California’s contact tracing program, is a confidential process used by public health departments to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under this pro-
gram, public health representatives will telephonically interact with those who have tested positive and alert anyone that may have been exposed, keeping personally identifiable information (PII) confidential. Representatives will also inquire about symptoms, offer testing guidance, and discuss next steps like self-isolation and medical care.
Legitimate contact tracers may call, email, text, or visit your home to collect information. They will only send you texts or email indicating when they will contact you and will not ask you to click or download anything. The information that a legitimate contact tracer may ask you for include: your name and address, health information, and the names of places and people you have visited.
Scammers are impersonating contact tracers so that they can profit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with calls, scammers are sending out links in text messages about fictitious cases. Scammers may ask for your Social Security Number, financial information, or other sensitive information not required for authentic contact tracing.
There are five things to know about a Contact Tracing Call:
- Real contact tracers will not ask you for money.
Only scammers insist on payment by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency.
- Contact tracing does not require your bank account or credit card number.
Never share account information with anybody who contacts you asking for it.
- Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Social Security Number.
Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you.
- Your immigration status does not matter for contact tracing, and real tracers will not ask.
If they do, you can bet it is a scam.
- Do not click on a link in a text or email.
Doing so can download malware onto your device.
Be wary of suspicious email, phone calls, and text messages. Contact your local health department to verify that the call or message is valid, think before clicking on any links, and be aware of suspicious attachments.
More information about the California Connected tracing program can be found on the California Department of Public Health Contact Tracing page.
California Department of Public Health Site
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There are more job and employment Internet scams each and every day. Scammers try to fraudulently get you to wire money or collect your personal information, or attempt any one of a variety of other job scams designed to take advantage of job hunters seeking to find employment online.
For example, you might be told that you will receive $490 per week. Then you receive another email saying that there was a mistake and the company accidentally sent you $3,200. When you receive the check, you're supposed to wire the rest of the money to someone else—a typical attempt to get you to part with your money. The check from the company won't clear, and you'll have already wired the money to a third party. You may be asked to purchase gift cards and send pictures of the activation codes on the back.
These are only a few examples of the many ways scammers prey on people seeking employment. Some of these scams are complicated and it can be easy to think they are legitimate. What should you do if you've been scammed or almost scammed? Here's how to report a scam, including where and how to report an employment scam.
File a Report With the Internet Crime Complaint Center
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White-Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The Internet Crime Complaint Center accepts online Internet crime complaints. In order to file a report, you'll need to provide the following information:
- Your name, mailing address, and telephone number.
- The name, address, telephone number, and web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you.
- Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.
File a Report With the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, collects complaints about companies, business practices, and identity theft.
Report the Company to the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Enter the company name or the website into the Better Business Bureau search box to find out whether there have been complaints and whether the company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau. You can file your own complaint online.
Report a Fraudulent Website to Google
If you believe you've encountered a website that is designed to look like a legitimate website in an attempt to steal users' personal information, report it to Google.
Report the Fraudulent Theft to Your Local Police Department
If you believe you are a victim of a fraudulent posting and have lost money, file the report with your local police department.
Updated: December 06, 2021