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Watch out, graduating students seeking jobs: Scammers are after you

The Better Business Bureau warns new graduates to be wary of employment schemes. Students take part in Boise State University’s graduation ceremony in May 2016.
The Better Business Bureau warns new graduates to be wary of employment schemes. Students take part in Boise State University’s graduation ceremony in May 2016. kjones@idahostatesman.com

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 warns 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, 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 job-seekers should also be wary of potential scammers browsing their information.

One Idahoan reported her experience to BBB’s Scam Tracker earlier this spring.

“I responded to [an] advertisement on Facebook for a payroll clerk,” she writes. “I spent all day talking to them and interviewing with them. They told me that they wanted to hire me. They finally told me that they wanted my bank info so that they could deposit money into my account and then I would use that money to pay for equipment to do this job.”

She says the “recruiter” went on to ask for other account information and passwords. Fortunately, she declined and ended communication.

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 amounts of 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 the check is fraudulent.

If you know of employment scams happening in our area, report the scam at bbb.org/ScamTracker

Emily Valla, emily.valla@thebbb.org, is the Idaho marketplace director for the Better Business Bureau Northwest. To check a business or report a scam, go to www.bbb.org or call (208) 342-4649.

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