By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller
When she read the classified ad posted on craigslist.com, Sue Schultze of Boise believed she’d come across the perfect job – office assistant (part-time).
She contacted the posting email address and was delighted to read the response that she was definitely 1-of-4 candidates for the position. She says it was exciting to think she would be able to work in Boise on her schedule. The pay was great too, and they would give her with a credit card that she could use for business purchases.
But, it was odd, she thought when she read the next request – a full credit report, with a followup call, using their credit reporting form. To top it off, the company required you report your credit score, and a phone number.
“I can’t imagine that any employer would require this information prior to a job interview,” she says.
BBB issues the following guidelines when responding to Internet help wanted ads:
- Exercise Caution. When using social networking sites like Facebook and online employment sites such as Craigslist, be sure to check the real Web site of the company posting the job to verify it actually exists. If you don’t see it on their site, chances are it’s a scam.
- Guard Your Resume. Some job seekers have uploaded their résumé online but remember to make sure you only upload it for a legitimate purpose and company. Resumes often contain personal information, ripe for identity theft thieves.
- Start with Trust. Many scams use names that are similar to reputable companies to trick job seekers. BBB recommends that job seekers check out the company first at bbb.org and to apply through the real company site when possible.
- Never Pay Upfront Fees. No legitimate job offer will need out-of-pocket expenses from a potential employee for background checks, credit reports or administrative fees before an interview.
- Protect Personal Information. Job seekers should never give their social security number or birth date until they have verified the job is legitimate. Additionally, job seekers should never give bank account information for direct deposit setup until they have officially been hired.
- Be Careful of the “Perfect Offer.” Job seekers should be cautious of any posting advertising extremely high pay for short hours or minimal required experience. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Avoid Work-at-Home Offers. Most jobs that imply you can work from home or rake in cash are a ploy to trap you into giving away your credit card information, cashing fake checks, or paying for training that should be free. Job seekers should understand employees working from home generally go through the traditional in-person interviews and hiring process and often have experience in what they are doing, work for a salary, or have spent time and money developing the market for their work.
- Report Fraud. If you find a job scam or Internet fraud, including Craigslist scams, report it to BBB by emailing email@example.com and contact the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at 800.251.3221 or go to www.ic3.gov.
Since receiving this inquiry, BBB has received three other requests about this type of advertising in two days.