Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department (CSD) Offers Tips To Avoid Employment Agency Scams

MIAMI – There is no doubt that many Americans have lost their jobs due to the poor economy. As of April 2011, 13 percent of the workforce in Miami-Dade County remains unemployed, and the unemployment rate in the State of Florida is 10.4 percent. A U.S. Labor Department report released last week indicates that jobless claims for the country increased by 10,000 last week, bringing the total number of claims to 424,000.

Many Americans have great qualifications, including work experience and higher education, and cannot find a job for which they are qualified. The job search can become frustrating and often lead men and women to seek the services of job employment agencies that promise a job in exchange of a lump sum amount of money. While there are many legitimate employment agencies across the country, do your homework and research the agency before seeking job placement assistance.

Below are some tips offered by the Florida Trade Commission (FTC) to prevent you from falling prey to illegitimate employment agencies.

• Reject any company that promises to get you a job.

• Be skeptical of any employment-service firm that charges first, even if it guarantees refunds.

• Get a copy of the firm’s contract and read it carefully before you pay any money. Understand the terms and conditions of the firm’s refund policy. Make sure you understand what services the firm will provide and what you’ll be responsible for doing. If oral promises are made, but don’t appear in the contract, think twice about doing business with the firm.

• Take your time reading the contract. Don’t be caught up in a rush to pay for services. Stay away from high-pressure sales pitches that require you to pay now or risk losing out on an opportunity.

• Be cautious about purchasing services or products from a firm that’s reluctant to answer your questions.

• Be aware that some listing services and “consultants” write their ads to sound like they are jobs when they’re selling general information about getting a job.

• Follow up with the offices of any company or organization mentioned in an ad or an interview by an employment service to find out if the company is really hiring.

• Be wary of firms promoting “previously undisclosed” federal government jobs. All federal positions are announced to the public on

• Check with your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General’s Office, and the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed about a company with which you intend to do business. You also may contact these organizations if you have a problem with an employment-service firm.

If you feel that you have been a victim of an employment agency scam, and a guaranteed job promise never materialized call the Florida Trade Commission (FTC) to report your case. You can also contact us at CSD and we will gladly investigate your case.

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