Action Line: Make sure online job listing are legitimate before applying

Better Business Bureau serving Central CaliforniaMay 25, 2014 

From a reader: The semester is over, and now I am determined to find a summer job. I am searching online job postings for a job, but I am concerned about the legitimacy of some of the job postings. Some job postings look like a scam, while other postings are hard to determine the legitimacy. What are red flags to be aware of when searching for a job?

Action Line: As the school year comes to an end, thousands of job hunters will send resumes and applications to prospective employers.

Many job hunters turn to online job boards including Craigslist,, and to post their résumé and search for jobs. Although the job board site is legitimate, this doesn't stop scammers from utilizing the site. Before posting a résumé to a career site or inquiring about a job, make sure you know with whom you are dealing, and be on the lookout for potential scams.

One common scam is for scammers to send job candidates fraudulent checks in the mail. The package will also include instructs to deposit the money into a bank account, and to wire a portion of the money usually outside the United States. Reasons given for this requirement vary from scam to scam. The scammer makes it seem as though it's naturally a job duty when in fact it's absolutely not.

Be on the lookout for these red flags when conducting your job search:

  • Verify a real phone number, email address and company name in the listing. Employer contact information will be clearly available if the job posting is legitimate.
  • Hold on to your personal information. Regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, a job applicant should never give out his or her Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone or e-mail.
  • Never pay a fee. Imposters will often solicit an application fee or suggest a job seeker pay for training -- don't pay! Aside from paying for a uniform, it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees or make a required purchase to get a job.
  • Never deposit a check. The job that requires the employee to cash a check sent by the company through the mail and wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram is unlikely to be legitimate.
  • Do research. If there is something that you want to know about the potential employer or position, search online for company information and be sure to visit

Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 4201 W. Shaw Ave., Suite 107, Fresno, CA 93722 or

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