The Texas Workforce Commission warned job seekers Monday of a scam involving "unscrupulous people posing as potential employers."

Some scammers pose as representatives of established businesses or using legitimate meeting spaces to meet and interview victims. The fraudulent employers try to take the victim's money in exchange for non-existent jobs, according to a news release from the Texas Workforce Commission.

The reported scams can happen online, by phone or in person. Some scammers post from legitimate job-matching websites, such as TWC's WorkIn Texas.com, or use Workforce Solutions offices to meet with the job seekers. In all cases the job seeker received promises of employment and a request for some type of up-front payment.

The false employer sends the "new employee" a check to cash, tells them they can keep a portion of the money deposited as a signing bonus and asks them to send the rest of the money to a specific address. The check bounces and the job seeker is out all the money. Job seekers should be cautious in receiving any money from a future employer, unless they have provided something tangible of equal value to merit receiving the money.

Another reported scam includes false employers conducting interviews through instant messaging or on the phone resulting in a job offer and then asking the job seeker to purchase a prepaid card and transfer the funds to the false employer for training, a background check, uniforms or equipment needed to begin work.

Texas residents are reminded that legitimate employers will never ask for money as a condition for starting work. Job seekers should never provide personally identifiable information to an employer prior to a face-to-face meeting. They should never cash checks from anyone claiming to be an employer, or purchase any equipment, licenses, certifications, starter kits, or software packages prior to validating the employer.

TWC also warns those looking for work that scammers use the names of legitimate businesses as a cover for their fraudulent activity.

To verify an employer, TWC suggests that job seekers independently confirm contact information for the company, specifically the human resources department, and call to verify the job posting. TWC encourages individuals to check their bank or other online accounts for unusual activity if they suspect they are victims of a similar scam.

To report suspicious activity, call TWC's Fraud and Program Abuse Hotline at 800-252-3642. For more, visit www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/scams.shtml.

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