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Many Americans are victimized by scam artists selling information about Government job opportunities. These scam artists place classified advertisements in newspapers, magazines and periodicals offering--for a fee--to help job seekers locate and apply for Federal jobs. Some companies go so far as to use names that imply affiliation with the Federal Government, such as the "U.S. Agency for Career Advancement," or "Postal Employment Service."

Many of these companies advertise the availability of large numbers of Federal jobs in local areas, while in reality few or none may actually exist. For example, the Postal Service has few vacancies for permanent, full-time jobs. Postal Service hiring takes place through 85 district offices at the local level.

Federal agencies and the Postal Service never charge for applications, sell study guides for examinations, or guarantee that you will be hired. If an examination is required, the agency administering the examination typically offers free sample questions to applicants scheduled for the examination.

GOVJOBS, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management urge consumers to protect themselves against job scams. Beware of advertisements or sales pitches containing:

  • An implied affiliation with the Federal Government, a guarantee of high test scores or jobs, references to "hidden" or unadvertised job vacancies, or claims that "no experience is necessary."
  • Referrals 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 examinations. These materials may be inaccurate, unnecessary, or available at no charge from the hiring agency.
  • Toll-free numbers that direct you to pay-per-call numbers for more information. Under Federal law, any solicitations for pay-per-call numbers must contain full disclosures about cost. The solicitation must make clear if there is or is not an affiliation with the Federal Government. You must have a chance to hang up before you incur any charges.

If you have concerns about an employment advertisement or a company offering employment services, you may contact the following:

  • Federal Trade Commission, 1-877-FTC-HELP.
  • Postal Crime Hotline, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, 1-800-654-8896, available 24 hours a day.
  • National Fraud Information Center (a project of the National Consumers League), 1-800-876-7060, available weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, or on the internet at
  • Your State Attorney General or local Better Business Bureau.

The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud- related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad. AS OF: 12-10-02

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