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BBB Tip of the Week: Jobs scams are third-riskiest scam

By Lauren Allen Marketplace Manager

As high school and college students prepare to graduate, many have three main things on their checklist: study for finals, celebrate their accomplishments and apply for jobs. First, congratulations. Second, the Better Business Bureau would like to warn recent grads to be wary of employment schemes.

Jobs scams are the third-riskiest scam, according to the BBB Risk Index. And, the Risk Index finds young people ages 18-24 are most likely to lose money to a scam. Those two factors should have young job seekers paying attention.

Many job seekers are conducting their search fully online, using online recruiting sites, social media platforms and web searches to find available positions. Some sites allow users to apply for many jobs with a click of a button or upload their resume for recruiters. These tools can lead to great jobs, but users should also be wary of potential scammers browsing their information.

BBB offers tips for job seekers to avoid being scammed during the search:

Double-check the contact information. Emails should come from a legitimate email address connected with the business. Check for slight misspellings meant to fool victims, and be aware it’s easy to copy and paste logos to make fake emails appear legitimate. The company should have contact information you can verify independently with a third party, like the BBB. Research the company before providing any personal information.

Be wary of urgency. If a valid business has posted an open position online, chances are they will receive numerous applications and will only reach out once to those they are looking to pursue. Scammers want their emails to stand out, so they may contact applicants multiple times to offer a chance for an interview or offer a job without an interview.

Avoid requests for payment. You shouldn’t have to pay to be considered or hired by a business. Never give out banking or credit card information during the job search, this information is not needed during the interview process. Upfront fees or promises of guaranteed income with little work or qualifications are major red flags of employment schemes.

Be cautious of “work from home” jobs. There are legitimate at-home gigs, but this is also a common tactic used by scammers. Many scams have included text along the lines of, “Required to work from home for the first 15 business days while the office is under construction.” In this case, ask where the office is located. If they can’t give you that information, then there probably is no office or business. Be wary if a potential employer says they’ll “send a check” to set up your home office. It’s possible that the check is fraudulent.

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