BBB: Summer Job Applicants Start Looking Now – and Avoid Scams

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises university and high school students looking for work this summer to apply early and research potential employers for the best chance at landing a job!

The BBB offers the following advice for job hunters:

• Start your job search earlier rather than later. Retail stores and restaurants are common sources of summer employment. This is the time for job hunters to determine what type of job suits them best. Identify the companies you would like to work for and then begin submitting applications and resumes.
• Work where you shop. Try to identify employment opportunities at businesses where you shop. You will already be familiar with the company and its products, and discounts available to employees can mean significant savings when shopping.
• Put your best foot forward. Even if you are just picking up applications at stores in the mall, dress neatly and be prepared for an interview. This includes being familiar with the company’s brand and products. Retail job hunters need to focus on impressing potential employers with their customer service skills because they may be dealing with stressed-out shoppers.
• Be flexible. Full-time employees usually have first choice on preferred hours and shifts.

Applying for a job that requires no work experience and a high salary often sounds enticing, but it is often “too good to be true.” Many Internet and newspaper ads have postings that claim: “sum¬mer job, make $300 a day,” or “last year our employ¬ees made $10,000 over the sum¬mer.”

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

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.

Job offers out of nowhere from strangers. If they offer you a job without getting an application from you first, meeting you, or doing an interview, it’s probably a scam. Don’t hand over your personal employment information. That could lead to identity theft.

Requests for up-front payments. If someone wants you to make an advance payment to “get in” on the ground floor of a new business opportunity - especially if it’s a big investment, or you don’t have much information about the deal - this is a big red flag. Don’t do it. “Advance fee scams” are very common and they come in many varieties.

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 because they know you won’t be able to get your money back.

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. 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. Ignore anybody who pushes you to agree. High pressure is a big sign that something’s wrong.

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 answers all of your questions. If they won’t give details, or don’t respond to questions, don’t do business with them.

References are missing or a bit suspicious. A real business should be able to give you many professional references – not just a few. Be sure to ask for references and check them yourself. Don’t be swayed by a few written testimonials that sound fabulous. Even if the references seem good, don’t make your decision based on references alone. Do a careful background check. For starters: try a web search on the company name and see what comes up.

Contact information is missing or doesn’t make sense. Be very cautious if a company is trying to get you to accept a job or do business, 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. If there’s no street address, look out! (P.O. boxes are not comforting – scammers often rent them, and move on quickly.) If there is an address, it’s worth taking a moment to check it on the Internet. It’s common for phony operations to claim they are at an address that is not their true location. Use an online tool like Google Street View which shows photos of address locations.

They want you to buy a bunch of expensive stuff. If they expect you to make a major purchase of equipment, software, inventory, or information in order to get started in business, be very careful. Often these are the most persuasive kinds of scams. It seems like it might be a real business opportunity – but it’s not. Here’s what happens: the buyer makes the purchase and never receives the things needed to set up the business. You can avoid this situation! Check the business out completely before you send a dime.

It’s got 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. Call 1-800-388-2222.

The link below takes you to the BBB office in Louisville, KY.

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