There are a lot more job seekers currently looking for work than has been for quite some time and this makes the job search a lot harder for everyone out there looking for work. To add even more stress to the situation there are those out there that love to take advantage of these types of situations.
For an example a really popular scam right now are money transfer scams that are unauthorized and are from bank accounts that have been hacked. The people who are hired are unsuspecting people who answer ads for work at homes jobs and the criminals use them unknowingly to launder money. That is just one example of scams out there that job seekers need to try and avoid.
The most important thing you must remember when you are looking for a job is never pay one single penny for a job. Nothing. No matter how good the job sound no one should ever have to pay to get a job or pay any kind of money up front to have the opportunity to get work.
Make sure to pay close attention to any email addresses that come to you in emails or that you find listed in an ad. Most businesses are not going to be using a hotmail or gmail account. They generally will have a business email that they use from the office but they rarely are going to use the type of accounts that the general public uses.
You can also do research on a company you might be wary of by researching their phone number they might give you. You can research phone numbers by using a Hoovers.com for instance. You can also get a hold of the Better Business Bureau to see if they know if the company is a legitimate company.
Be very careful with all of your personal information that you give out. Once a scammer gets a hold of that kind of information you could be set up for identity theft. When you apply for a job understand that they can legally ask for your name, address and phone number but by law you do not have to give them your Social Security number prior to getting hired, especially if the application is online. Unless the job application is on a secured server where the url is https:// and not http:// never give out your Social Security number when applying.
Of course for a legit company, they may not appreciate the fact that you refuse to give this information to them so if you think the company is for real then get a hold of their human resources department and ask them to confirm their security policy. When you let them know that you are just trying to protect yourself they generally will understand, especially if they are a legitimate company.
Something you should be aware of is that there are scams out there that are going under the guise of federal jobs. There are criminals out there that are taking advantage of federal job postings and are going around giving out fake exams and test material and asking people to pay for them and the job seekers think that they need to have these materials so they will be prepared to apply for the federal job that might be posted.
There are also scammers out there that will ask for your credit card information so they can sell you packets of information that will help you find a job with the government. Give them the number and you never see the packet. Because, well, it doesn't exist.