A reader: My teenage kid is looking to pick up a seasonal job to make some extra money this holiday season. I have heard a lot about holiday or seasonal job scams. What can you tell me about them and what should my kid avoid in order not to fall victim to one of the scams?
Action Line: The holiday season is officially here and people are rushing off to stores to buy gifts for their loved ones, leaving a trail of chaos behind. This means stores are staffing up with temporary employees to help with the extra demand for customer service, inventory and cleanup. Seasonal work can be a great way to make extra money during the holidays, but anyone looking to make an extra buck should watch out for job scams.
A lot of fake seasonal job offers are nothing more than a “Phishing Expedition.”
How seasonal job scams work:
You receive an email that appears to be from the human resources department of a major retailer or a recruitment firm. The email says the company is hiring employees for the holiday season and claims to pay a high hourly wage. And applying is easy. You don’t need to go into the store. All you have to do is click the link at the bottom of the message and fill out an online application.
Don’t let the message fool you! This email traces back to China, not a corporate office in the United States or Canada. If you click, you may download malware to your device. Or, if you complete the “application,” you will be sharing your personal information with scammers and opening yourself up to identity theft.
Better Business Bureau offers these tips on how to spot a job scam:
Don’t fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask him/her to wire the money elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers.
Some positions are more likely to be scams. Always be wary of work-from-home offers, secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title, such as caregiver or customer service representative. These positions often don’t require special training or licensing, so they appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads.
If a job looks suspicious, search for it online. If the result comes up in other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam. Also, check the real company’s job page to make sure the position is posted there. And always check the company out with BBB® by going to BBB.ORG/CCIE.
Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring him or her.
Look for pay or perks well above similar positions. If similar jobs offer to pay $10/hour and this position pays $20/hour, chances are that there’s a catch.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.