Graduates, Summer Job Seekers Often Targets of Scams That Steal Identities, Trick People Into Illegal Activities

Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Many high school and college graduates will be entering the work world as this school year comes to a close. Those that have not yet lined up a job are likely to use Internet resources to pursue job leads. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Chicago and Northern Illinois cautions job seekers to avoid becoming targets for scam artists eager to take advantage of their inexperience.

Online job searches can be an efficient and productive way to pursue employment as apprehension is becoming an annual occurrence on campuses across the nation. But this year, with the economy still struggling students have a right to be more fearful than usual.

"It’s important to remember that while jobs are becoming available, so are tempting scam offers," says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. "Opportunities do exist, but today’s graduates need to be ready to modify their plans to accommodate the drastic changes to the job market while not becoming victims to these offers. Remember, if it’s an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Below are descriptions of common online job scams:

  • The "personal" invitation. These are often ploys to garner personal data.  This job scammer sends mass e-mails to long lists of recipients. The sender claims to have seen your resume on the Internet, notes that your skills match the requirements for their job, and invites you to complete an online job application.
  • The ID verification scenario. If a company requests information on or copies of your driver’s license, passport, bank account or credit card numbers, mother’s maiden name, or your Social Security number to "verify" your identity during the interview/application process, you could be at risk for identity theft. Legitimate companies do not request this information prior to an interview.
  • The inside scoop on federal jobs. There’s no such thing. All federal government positions are publicly announced and federal agencies never charge application fees or guarantee that an applicant will be hired. Avoid Web sites that promise, possibly for a fee, to give you the inside scoop on how to get a Federal or Postal Service job.
  • The payment-forwarding or payment-transfer scams. In this scenario, the scammer pretends to be an employer and uses ploys to request the job seeker’s bank account information. They may tell job seekers it’s needed to deliver their paycheck by "direct deposit" or promise high wages for a job that involves forwarding, transferring or wiring money from a personal bank account or from Western Union to another account. The job seeker, as part of their pay, is instructed to keep a small percentage of the money as payment. Often these end up with the job candidate committing theft and wire fraud and losing money since the original check does not clear.
  • Opportunities abroad. Tempting, but only exploit a person’s desires and provide no real opportunities in exchange for money or personal information.  Legitimate businesses will not ask for money up front; use post office boxes, instead of office addresses; make promises of employment and guarantees of refunds; or charge fees for giving you a job lead.

Before you send any money or personal information when responding to job ads or completing job placement contracts, check on the company’s Reliability Report and complaint record for free at www.bbb.org 

There are a variety of free and low-cost resources available to help you in your job search, including local and state government job service offices, libraries, universities and community colleges.

For additional information on how to protect yourself from online scams, visit www.bbb.org.

As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.