BBB Warns of Job Application Scam

August 29, 2014

With a competitive job market comes many things: the updating of countless resumes, re-writing cover letters, catching up with references and unfortunately, an ever-growing potential of job scams.  Between classifieds, postings on sites such as Craigslist, and cold calls, how can you determine if an opening with a company is legitimate? BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties is here with a few tips:

  • Don’t send cash: Many scams may ask you to purchase a starter kit or materials for your job, while others may ask you to send a prepaid Visa card so you can pay for a background check.  Remember, you should never pay upfront fees; no legitimate job will ask for your money as a prerequisite for a job.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: If an ad doesn’t specify duties, doesn’t require you send in a resume, promises triple-digit pay and assures the best benefits around, be wary – it’s most likely a scam.  Keep in mind that legitimate employers are seeking candidates with specific skills, knowledge and education that are best suited for the job, so they will have very specific requirements.
  • Verify before you apply: Newer scams attract job seekers who see a posting by a big name company, but don't realize that the listing is a fraud. It's recommended to check the company site to see if the job offer is listed there; if you are unable to find the available job on the official company site, it might be a scam.
  • Trust your gut: If you happen to see an ad that has spelling or grammatical errors, beware – this can be one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to spot a scam.  Additionally, look out for postings that don’t offer any details about the job but request sensitive information (such as your bank account and social security numbers).
  • Protect your bank account:  Another common job scam comes when a “company” sends an applicant a check and instructs them to deposit the check, keep a portion of the money, and then send the remaining balance to a third party.  Remember: you will be liable for the check you deposit, regardless of if it is fraudulent or not.  A job offer that asks you to do the above should alert you of a potential scam.
  • Check Check out a company’s BBB Business Review at to verify their legitimacy, see if they’ve had any complaints filed against them, and learn a little more about their company history.

As always, call your local BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties if you have any questions about a business or a potential scam at 858-496-2131.  Stay up-to-date with tips and scam alerts on our BBBlog at