2017-03-25 / Education

College students continue to be victims of employment scams

RALEIGH — After getting back from Spring Break and trying to prepare for summer fun, a large number of college students are starting to feel the pinch. Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) wants to warn students about employment scams and how it can leave them in a bigger hole that before.

“Scammers will post fake online job advertisements on college employment websites or send students recruiting emails to their student email accounts,” said Alyssa Gutierrez, director of Communications from BBB serving Eastern NC.

“These jobs sound very convincing and within days the student is out what little money they might have.”

Typically, scammers will charge upfront fees for services or training materials. They claim they can guarantee job placement after you pay; however, the promised job never materializes and the business doesn’t return your calls.

If you need to pay first to get the job or have to provide your credit card or bank account number, that’s a red flag.

Since 2016, BBB nationwide has received more than 2,000 reports of employment scams nationwide, totaling more than $10.8 million in losses.

BBB serving Eastern NC offers students the following advice to avoid falling victim to an employment scam:

• Research the business first. If a company or organization is mentioned in an ad or interview, contact that company directly to find out if the company is really hiring through the service. When using social networking sites and online employment sites, be sure to check the website of the company posting the advertisement.

• Be cautious when responding to unsolicited emails. Even if the business name is well-known, don’t click on any links in the email until you’ve verified the business and can confirm that the email came from a legitimate source. Be wary of any requests for such information from companies that you haven’t met with in person.

• Don’t pay upfront fees. No legitimate job offer will require out of pocket expenses from a potential employee for background checks, credit reports or administrative fees before an interview. If an employer wants you to pay—even if they say it’s for certification or training materials— don’t do business with them.

• Never wire money to someone you don’t know. If anyone you don’t know asks you to wire money, that’s an automatic red flag. Scammers know it’s extremely difficult to track money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union. Once money is sent via a wire transfer, it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. Even if you’ve been given a check to cover the amount you’re wiring, never send money to someone you don’t know personally. The check could be fraudulent, leaving you liable for the money.

• Protect your documents. Keep important personal and financial documents safe, and store them under lock and key. Consider keeping sensitive documents—like your birth certificate or Social Security card—in a safe deposit box or at home with parents.

• Be wary of the “perfect offer.” Job seekers should be cautious of any posting advertising extremely high pay for short hours or minimal required experience. Remember, legitimate businesses don’t make promises or guarantees about jobs. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you have been targeted by a job scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC and BBB serving Eastern NC. For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org.

About BBB serving Eastern NC

Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina is a 501(c)(6) notfor profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,600 local businesses and professional firms. BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by BBB include reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, consumer/ business education programs and dispute resolution services. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit bbb.org.

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