As if the job market isn’t hard enough to break into, rising seniors and recent college graduates are employment scam targets. In January, the FBI issued a warning that employment scams targeting college students are still alive and well.
Employment Scams – A Public Service Announcement
According to the FBI, scammers advertise phony job opportunities on college employment websites soliciting college students for administrative positions. Then the student employee receives counterfeit checks and is told to deposit them into their personal account. Shortly thereafter, the scammer directs the student to withdraw the funds and send a portion, via wire transfer, to another individual. Often, the transfer of funds is to a “vendor”, allegedly for materials necessary for the job. By the time the bank has confirmed that the original checks were fraudulent, the victim’s own money is long gone
Dashed employment hopes and lost wages aren’t the only concern for victims of recent employment scams. Possible consequences of participating in this scam include:
- The student’s bank account may be closed due to fraudulent activity and a report could be filed by the bank with a credit bureau or law enforcement agency.
- The student is responsible for reimbursing the bank the amount of the counterfeit checks.
- The scamming incident could adversely affect the student’s credit record.
- The scammers often obtain personal information from the student while posing as their employer, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.
- Scammers seeking to acquire funds through fraudulent methods could potentially utilize the money to fund illicit criminal or terrorist activity.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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Phone introductions are a fine way to start the conversation, but be wary of opportunities that don’t lead to a face-to-face interview. Although some companies and government agencies may require it, you should be very cautious when sharing your Social Security Number online or over the phone. Tell the employer you’ll only provide that information once you’ve received a formal offer and are filling out W-2 or 1099 paperwork.
Be sure to do your research as well. Look into the company to find out about their market, what they sell, and look for reviews and evaluations from their employees. (Hint: you should be doing this anyway, not just when you suspect a scam.)
You can also take advantage of the Better Business Bureau and the BBB Scam Tracker℠ to research the types of scams that have been reported in your area.