Federal and Postal Job Scams: Tip-offs
You never have to pay for information
about job vacancies or employment opportunities with
the U.S. government or U.S. Postal Service. But some
fraudulent promoters are victimizing many Americans
by selling information about federal job opportunities.
These scam artists advertise in the classified sections
of newspapers and offer - for a fee - to help job seekers
find and apply for federal jobs. Some fraudulent companies
even try to confuse consumers by using names that sound
like those of federal agencies, like the "U.S.
Agency for Career Advancement" or the "Postal
Fraudsters may lie about the availability
of federal job openings in your area. For example, the
Postal Service has few vacancies for career positions,
and for many of the entry-level jobs, you must take
a written examination. Postal Service hiring takes place
at the local level through 85 district offices. If someone
tells you that postal jobs are available, check with
the Postal Service to determine if hiring is taking
place and if an exam is required for eligibility. The
tests usually are offered every few years in any particular
district because of the high volume of applicants.
Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal
Service never charge application fees or guarantee that
an applicant will be hired. If positions require a competitive
examination - and many do not - hiring agencies typically
offer free sample questions to consumers who sign up
for the exam.
It's deceptive for anyone to guarantee
you a high score on the postal entrance examinations
required for rural carrier associate, clerk, city carrier,
mail handler, flat sorter machine operator, mail processor
and markup clerk jobs. These exams test your general
aptitude, something you can't necessarily increase by
studying. Attending workshops, studying exam techniques
and taking practice questions won't assure you of a
top score on the exam - and even a top score doesn't
guarantee that you'll be hired. You must meet other
requirements, including passing a background check and
a drug test. Some veterans receive hiring preferences.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management urge job
seekers to avoid falling for these tip-offs to federal
and postal job rip-offs:
- Classified ads or verbal sales pitches that imply
an affiliation with the federal government, guarantee
high test scores or jobs or state that "no experience
- Ads that offer information about "hidden"
or unadvertised federal jobs.
- Ads that refer to a toll-free phone number. Often,
in these cases, an operator encourages you to buy
a "valuable" booklet containing job listings,
practice test questions and tips for entrance exams.
- Toll-free numbers that direct you to other pay-per-call
numbers for more information. Under federal law, any
solicitations for pay-per-call numbers must contain
full disclosures about cost. Also, the solicitation
must make clear if there is an affiliation with the
federal government. You must have a chance to hang
up before you incur any charges.
If you have concerns about a company's
advertisement for employment services, contact:
- Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-FTC-HELP
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service: Your local office
is listed in the blue (Government) pages of your telephone
- Your state attorney general or your local Better
Federal job information is available
through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's USAJOBS
Information on postal jobs is available at your local
post office. In many areas, the Postal Service offers
a job information hotline with current hiring announcements.
Also, check the Postal Service website at www.usps.gov.