BBB: Avoid pitfalls when searching for a summer job

05/02/2014 2:57 PM

05/02/2014 2:58 PM

The calendar says early May. but it is not too early to look for summer jobs.

High school and college students, as well as those from other demographics, who want summer employment would do well to immediately begin their search. According to one survey, 74 percent of employers will fill summer job positions by the end of May.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 2 million people found summer jobs in 2013. Surveys show that employers expect to hire that many if not more this year.

Here are a few tips and warnings for those who are seeking summer employment, especially if you are using Craigslist ads to find your job.

Watch out for scams

You may think you are using Craigslist to find a job, but the truth is that often a scammer is finding you with it.

Craigslist ads often make wild promises to job seekers. Too often, however, they deliver only disappointment. Many times the ads are only fronts for scammers trying to steal either your identity or your money.

There have been many incidents in which the ad itself is a theft of a business’ identity. That’s because it is easy for a Craigslist advertiser to claim to be someone they are not.

Even the Better Business Bureau has been victimized by scammers who advertised themselves as being a local BBB wanting to hire 10 “Customer Service Representatives.” It’s easy to cut and paste a real business or organization’s logo and use it to legitimize the appearance of an ad.

You can do yourself a favor and save the loss of your time and money by keeping these tips in mind when looking at Craigslist ads:

• Some positions are simply more likely to be scams. Generic job titles like “administrative assistant” and “customer service representative” may be used because they cast a wider net. Scammers know that jobs that don’t require much special training or licensing are going to appeal to more applicants.
• Certain phrases can be red flags. Ads may say “Immediate start,” “Teleworking OK” or “No experience needed.” Again, this is an attempt to cast a wide net.
• Check out suspicious sounding jobs with an Internet search. Is the exact wording showing up in ads in other locations across the country? Then it is probably a scam.
• Do not give out your personal information without assurance that the other party is legitimate. Do not pay money up front in order to get a job. Scammers can claim to need your info for a credit check or setting up direct deposit. They may want money for “training.”
• If something does not seem right, go to the business’ website to see whether the opening is posted there or call them and ask. Do not use the numbers given in the ad. Look them up online.
• Big bucks for simple tasks rarely really happen. Jobs that sound too good to be true usually are.
• Get details about the job in writing and up front. Refusal to provide the information to you is almost certainly a sign of a scam.
• Verify the company’s physical address. Just having a cell phone number and website is no assurance that they are real. Anyone can set those up.
• Job offers out of the blue, without an interview, are usually scams. Identity theft may be their goal, so do not provide your information to them.

Remember that there are other ways to find jobs besides Craigslist. Personal networking through friends and family is a tried-and-true technique. Hitting the streets and knocking on business’ doors can work as well.

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