Scammers are targeting summer students. Here are the signs to watch for

The academic calendar for high schools and many post-secondary institutions in B.C. are coming to an end, and students across the province are now on the hunt for summer jobs and internship opportunities. While gaining work experience to boost their resumes is an important factor, many are also job searching for a chance to save funds to help cover the costs of the fall semester.

With any luck, the majority will be able to find gainful employment with legitimate brick and mortar stores and businesses. However, employment scams continue to deceive unsuspecting job hunters, as they ranked number 4 on the BBB National List of Top 10 Scams for 2018. Our analysis of the Scam Tracker reports we received in 2018 showed that 9.8% came from students, most of which concerned employment scams. The BBB Risk Report also revealed that employment scams are the riskiest type of scam in all of North America, with students and people ages 18 - 24 being the most susceptible groups. In light of this BBB is warning both students and their parents to look out for employment scams as they go through the job application process.

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Tips to recognize employment scams:

  • Always start with the primary rule of thumb: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Research the company. Sometimes it may even require calling the business to confirm details if you have any suspicions. Researching can be difficult at times, as scammers are creating more elaborate business websites and sometimes even impersonate legitimate businesses by mimicking their website. At the same time, a company that does not have any online activity is a potential red flag.
  • Any job offer that requires an up-front payment or money transfer is likely a scam. Legitimate companies do not operate in this way.
  • Vague job descriptions and over-the-top pay scalesshould raise red flags.
  • Be wary of job offers that appear in pop-up advertisements online.
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors in job postings. Poorly constructed sentences are classic signs of a scam.
  • Beware of employers that ask you to provide your Social Insurance Number or financial and confidential information BEFORE you have been hired. Normally, this information is provided in-person during the onboarding process and should never be sent to anyone via email. Requests for credit card information are a clear red flag.
  • Be wary if the company uses a free email account. Any Human Resource personnel that responds with a Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo account is potentially a scammer.
  • If you did not apply for the job or participate in a proper recruitment process, eg. an interview, this is not a job opportunity you should pursue. Legitimate companies always want to meet prospective employees in person.

If you encounter an employment scam, report it to BBB using Scam Tracker.

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