Distinguishing Fraudulent Summer Job Offers

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Evan Arnold-Gordon
Golden Gate Better Business Bureau

School is officially out, which means high school and college students nationwide are looking for ways to earn some money this summer. Unfortunately, scammers know this too, and they’re constantly trying to scam young job seekers. In fact, employment scams were the most common scam for people ages 25-34 last year.

In 2017, employment scams ranked as the third riskiest scam according to our BBB ScamTracker. More than 2,000 people were impacted by these scams. That’s why your BBB is offering some helpful tips to avoid these fraudsters and ensure your summer break is well spent.

  • Fake job postings. For many high school and college students, finding a summer job is a priority. BBB is warning consumers that sometimes seasonal job postings may not end up as advertised. If a prospective employer doesn’t readily share job details, has no online or physical presence or contact information, and isn’t interested in doing an interview, chances are it’s a scam. You can always check the BBB ScamTracker report for prevalent employment scams in your area as well.
  • Up-front fees. If someone asks to have fees submitted up front for materials or registration, walk away. No employer should ask you to pay out-of-pocket for work-related costs. Nor should a potential employer ask you to invest in the company you’d be working for.
  • Unpaid work. No employer should require that you perform a “trial run” day of work at any time during your application process. Hold off on doing any work until you have a formal job offer and have completed all your hiring paperwork.
  • Personal information. Legitimate employers never ask for sensitive information like a credit card number or banking information during the application process. Don’t share any financial information via email or over the phone. A solid job offer will include on-site paperwork (at which time you can often set up direct deposit of your earnings into your bank account and may be asked for your Social Security number).
  • Paperwork. Reading the fine print is always key, so when a potential employer doesn’t offer you a written contract, that’s a big no-no. Be sure to ask for everything in writing prior to taking a job (and ask questions about anything you don’t understand). A good company will be happy to discuss your offer with you and be ready to answer any questions you might have.
  • Work-from-home scam. What’s not to love about the idea of making money from the comfort of your own home all summer long? Sadly, many offers purporting work-from-home opportunities are scams in disguise. If you’re looking for at-home work opportunities, search for the company and opportunity online. Verify the company’s contact information; if they aren’t willing to provide a phone number and address that you can verify is real, it may be a scam.

You can reach your BBB at info@bbbemail.org or (510) 844-2000, or by visiting bbb.org.