WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP)– If you’re in the market for a new job take extra precautions when applying online. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning job hunters that thieves are hunting for them.

Due to the continuing worker shortage companies nationwide are searching for qualified employees. Fraudsters use the some of the same recruiting techniques of big companies by advertising jobs online, sometimes setting up fake websites, or searching for targets on social media.

They also conduct fake online job interviews and set up phony onboarding portals where they ask you for Social Security numbers and bank account information to deposit paychecks. Another tactic is to ask you to send money for equipment needed for remote work with the promise of reimbursement.

The FTC offers these suggestions when looking online for employment:

Verify job openings before you apply. Reach out to the company directly using contact information you know to be legit — not an email or phone number you got from the person who contacted you. If you’re not familiar with the company, search its name with the word “scam” or “fraud.” You may find stories from others who have been targeted.

Watch for telltale signs of a possible scam. There’s no sure-fire way to detect a job scam, but there are red flags that should raise your suspicions — for example, email from personal accounts not affiliated with a company, poor spelling and grammar, interviews conducted solely via email or online chat, salaries out of line with industry norms, and requests for account numbers or other personal information.  

Don’t pay for the promise of a job. Honest employers will never ask you to pay to get a job. And legitimate placement firms and headhunters typically don’t charge prospective employees. Instead, they’re paid by the company looking for qualified candidates. If you’re asked for money, walk away. You could be dealing with a fraudulent scheme.

The FTC has resources to identify job schemes. If you run across something that you think might be illegal during your job search, report it to the FTC.