AL Labor Dept warns of fraudulent hurricane jobs

Updated: Sep. 4, 2017 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It follows every natural disaster: fraudulent companies with less than pure intentions, offering lucrative clean up and rebuilding jobs that often don't exist.

These companies, both legitimate and fraudulent, recruit Alabama workers and the Alabama Department of Labor sends a clear warning to residents explaining how to spot a job scam.

As the waters recede, Texas cities and towns will be in desperate need of cleanup crews, contractors, construction teams – even additional healthcare workers.

"After natural disasters, we always see people coming out of the woodwork," stated Alabama Department of Labor Communications Director Tara Hutchison. "It may take a few weeks before you start to see them, but they will come out in force."

Hutchison warns all Alabamians to be vigilant, and do their homework before committing to a job in Texas.

The number one warning: if the potential employer asks you to pay money up front.

"A legitimate employer should never ask you to spend money on any type of certification, or ask you to pay any kind of money to get somewhere," Hutchison stated. "They should be paying you – not the other way around."

Another red flag: if they don't want to meet for an interview, rushing to hire you through an email, sight unseen.

"I'm not saying that can't be legitimate, it should be something you investigate," Hutchison warned. "Make sure you're not willingly giving out your social security number until you have an actual job offer, and you are filling out the actual hiring paperwork."

The job postings are lucrative, offering a lot of money that can be made in a short amount of time. Be weary of any certifications that are said to be waived due to a state of emergency, which generally attracts droves of social media attention.

"We hope people are paying attention, and they've got their guard up – but it always happens," Hutchison stated. "After the tornadoes in 2011, and the oil spill in 2010, we had several instances of some fraudulent companies trying to scam people out of the money and time."

Despite the harsh warnings, Hutchison says there's good news.

"There are plenty of legitimate jobs. You can go through FEMA, through their website and find what jobs are legitimate and see what jobs FEMA is hiring for," said Hutchison. "They have a host of resources to help you determine what is a scam and what is not."

Alabama Joblink lists these warnings.

FEMA Jobs can be found here and here.

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