7 tips to improve your Internet job search
By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller
Ron Youhouse is unemployed. Not that he doesn’t want to work, just can’t seem to find a fit with his current living situation.
“Since I got laid off at HP [Hewlett-Packard], I’ve had several things in my life change,” he says. “So, I started looking for work a little closer to home so I could take care of my father.”
Youhouse started filing jobs from foreign shipping companies, since there were so many of them online. Items would come in bulk, he was to repackage in small boxes, ship them off to different consumers.
“I didn’t have to pay any money out,” he says. “I was given computer access to the company’s postage machine, they sent stickers to print the recipient’s address on, and I was told it was a per parcel payment.”
Everything was going fine, until Youhouse received a visit from Detective Shelli Sonnenberg, of the Boise Police Department and the U.S. Postal Service inspectors.
Another employment scam with a bogus foreign company, says Sonnenberg, who is on the Internet Crime Division. These companies are advertising in the help wanted sections on the Internet. The ads claim to be looking for an “import/export specialist,” “marketing manager,” or “financial manager.”
“They’re not just hitting craigslist,” she says. “We’ve had complaints with Monster.com, Jobbuilder.com, … other reputable Internet sites.”
Youhouse says the investigators told him the tipoff was lack of postage on some of the packages, since the stamp being placed on them wasn’t matching with the numbers on record.
It wasn’t more than a day later that he received another response from a shipping company. Leary? Yes, but he proceeded with caution.
Cargo Mgmt Co., headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, had a website that required testing, coursework and scheduled visits to New York after selection – at the end of Phase Two.
Youhouse finished the coursework, had a phone interview, received an email confirmation, and took the final exam.
Fortunately, he never had to pay in advance to work for either of these scam companies.
In many instances, job seekers are asked to send money from one account to another or to reship merchandise to overseas companies as part of their employment duties. Consumers who respond to the ads are told that the employer is in a foreign country and needs an American contact to handle its business in the U.S. In one scenario a job applicant was hired to repackage and reship merchandise to a foreign company.
Oftentimes, they are asked to spend their own money, keep track and then submit reimbursement.
Almost immediately, as Cargo Mgmt Co. stopped contact, another website, with similar words, stories, locations, about us, etc. arose – National Logistic & Warehousing –nationallw.com.
Both are registered to Delta-X Ltd., in Kiev, Kiev Region, UA. In addition, ShopOS, under the opt99.com site is a sales site, where merchandise is sold in Russian. Currently they have posted sales for Gillette products only.
“What!? Am I some kind of magnet for these kinds of companies?” Youhouse asks.
Yahoo! contributing writer Gregory Thompson offers these tips about job-seeking on craigslist:
- Find Your City. Many major cities are represented on Craigslist. Now, hunt and peck through the different categories under “Jobs”.
- City Not Listed? City not listed, look in the large city closest to you. For instance, for job seekers living in Kankakee, Illinois, Chicago can still be a good place to look because some employers will post multiple versions of their ad in different portions of Chicago.
- Direct Search. You can nail down specific jobs or more specific cities by using the search bar.
- Gigs. Under “Jobs” there is another section called “Gigs.” These are usually one-time job offers that take up small amounts of time (hours in an afternoon, one week, etc.). M
- Services. Speaking of skills, you can post a free ad under the services section. This is an indirect way to find a job and get out of that unemployment slump you might be in.
- Resumes. Serious job seekers should post their resumes under this section. You can upload it one of two ways.
- Avoid Scams. Just take a few precautions you will be fine. If an ad does not list a company profile for information or more than just an e-mail to contact them, be wary. Don’t be afraid to e-mail the ad poster and ask for pertinent information like websites, addresses, a phone number: an employer should have no issues with answer those kinds of questions. Lastly, if a potential employers asks for any kind of information over e-mail or the phone, do not give it to them, it’s likely a scam or information mining company.