Wednesday, June 19, 2013

BBB warns of summer job offer scams

Roanoke, VA (June 19, 2013) Summer has arrived, and while too much exposure is liable to get you burned, the sun isn’t the only thing scorching Virginia residents this time of year. The summer job scam period is officially in season.

The BBB Serving Western VA is warning Virginia residents to watch out for fraudulent summer job offers that arrive each year just as students begin summer vacation. As thousands of high school and college students begin the search for seasonal work, scammers work overtime to post job offers designed to lure in this young and temporary work force.

Sites like Craigslist are a prime breeding ground for job offers that promise unrealistically high wages for doing simple tasks. Another common trend is the declaration that no experience is needed, that an applicant’s “motivation” and “drive” are experience enough.

One Troutville resident told the BBB, “They were offering $1,500 a week to stuff 500 envelopes. I knew it was a scam- when I worked at the bank I could do that in less than an hour, and I didn’t make half that salary.”

She also said that the company requested a $40 “training fee”, another common sign of work-at-home job scams.

While there are many legitimate summer job opportunities out there, Julie Wheeler, President & CEO of BBB Serving Western VA, stresses that students need to do their research before accepting an offer.

“We understand how hard it can be to find a job with little or no job experience, but be wary of any jobs that offer high salaries for that lack of experience,” said Wheeler. “The reality is many of these offers may be scams, pyramid schemes, or schemes to gather personal information.”

Here are 10 tip-offs that the “employment opportunity” could be a scam:

1. Big bucks for simple tasks. Watch out if they promise to pay you a lot of money for jobs that don’t seem to require much effort or skill. If it sounds too good to be true, it might be a scam.

2. Job offers out of nowhere from strangers. If they offer you a job without getting an application from you, meeting you, or doing an interview, it’s probably a scam. Don’t hand over your personal information, especially your Social Security Number or credit card information to such people. This could lead to identity theft.

3. Requests for up-front payments. If someone wants you to make an advance payment to partake in a new business opportunity – especially if it’s a big investment, or you don’t have much information about the deal – this is a red flag.

4. They ask you to wire the money. If you wire a payment to somebody, it’s gone forever. Wire transfers of money are a convenient and perfectly legitimate service. But scam artists often ask you to wire payments that they are requesting (especially to destinations in other countries) because they know you won’t be able to get your money back.

5. High pressure to do it now. Don’t be in a hurry to accept an unsolicited offer of work, or to make a business investment, particularly if the other party is asking you to spend your money on the deal. Take your time and check it out. If somebody tries to convince you that this is a “limited time” offer and you have to act now, just tell them to forget it. High pressure is a common sign that something’s wrong.

6. Refusal to give you full details in writing. Ask for complete information in writing. Look carefully at any documentation they might provide to make sure it answer all your questions. If they won’t give details, or don’t respond to questions, don’t do business with them.

7. References are missing or a bit suspicious. A real business should be able to give you professional references.  Ask for references and check them yourself. Even if the references seem good, don’t make your decision based on references alone. Do a careful background check; free Business Reviews are available at www.bbb.org

8. Contact information is missing or doesn’t make sense. Be very cautious if a company is trying to get you to accept a job, but seems to lack any established physical location with a real street address. A cell phone number and website address are not enough contact information.

9. They want you to buy expensive items. Be cautious if they expect you to make a major purchase of equipment, software, inventory, or information in order to get started in business. It seems like it might be a real business opportunity – but it’s not; the buyer makes the purchase and never receives the things needed to set up the business.

10. It has a bad rating with the BBB! Victims do complain to the BBB about work at home scams. It only takes minutes to check a company’s record with us at www.bbb.org

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Community, Crime

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