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BBB: BBB Hawai‘i shares employment scams

With the fall college semester in full swing, many students are now looking for multiple sources of income as they balance their schoolwork and social life. Unfortunately, as they start their search, they may encounter or be solicited by a deceptive employment offer that can cost them money and sensitive personal information.

Employment scams have ranked among the top three riskiest scams reported by consumers to BBB since the first Scam Tracker Risk Report was published in 2016. Last year, younger consumers reported losing money at higher rates than their older consumers. In fact, individuals ages 18-24 have shown to be the demographic most at risk for highest susceptibility and monetary loss. Finding a job can be difficult, and students may feel pressure to find work quickly.

Here is an inside look from a recent BBB Scam Tracker report: “I’m currently a college student and got contacted to interview for a Finance/Accounting internship. … I read the employment offer and everything looked real. After I signed the contract (where they have my name, address, date of birth, phone number, email), it started getting suspicious. First, the company sent me a $2,000 check to mobile deposit, so I can Zelle transfer the payment ($860 and $1000) … I did it, not knowing that the funds would eventually be fraudulent, and I was subject to an employment scam.”

She was later contacted by her bank that the check didn’t clear, and she was likely the victim of a job scam.

Better Business Bureau encourages students to look for these red flags before accepting a job offer that may feel too good to be true.

Scams

Always be wary of work from home, package reshipment, and mystery shopper positions, as well as any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service rep. Positions that don’t require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants.

Scammers know this, and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads. If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company’s job page to see if the position is posted there. Look online; if the job comes up in other cities with the exact same post, it’s likely a scam.

Raising suspicion

Any sort of pressure to sign or onboard is a red flag, as legitimate companies will understand that employment choices are big decisions. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. As qualified as a candidate may be, students should beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring. Be careful if a company promises great opportunities or a big income under the condition that the applicant pays for coaching, training, certifications or directories.

Fishy checks

Be cautious sharing any kind of personal information (including banking information and credit cards) or accepting any kind of prepayment. Don’t fall for an overpayment scam; no legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired, sent elsewhere or returned.

Contract legitimacy

An employment contract should include a salary, the nature of the position, any terms and conditions and, most importantly, employer information including an address and contact information. If there’s any uncertainty about its legitimacy, students should take that extra step to research and verify the information. The scammer may be impersonating a company or an HR professional.

To view and/or report scams in your area, visit BBB.org/scamtracker.

For more employment tips, visit BBB.org.

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Roseann Freitas ismarketplace manager Hawai‘i, Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific, 900 Fort Street Mall, Ste. 1310, Honolulu, HI 96813 808-260-0643, bbb.org Start With Trust.
Source: The Garden Island

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