It happens every summer. Recent college graduates who are seeking employment respond to classified advertisements promising jobs with the U.S. Postal Service. The advertisers offer, for a fee, to help job seekers find and apply for a high-paying job in the post office. Some of the advertisers try to confuse consumers by using an official-sounding name, like “The Postal Employment Service."
Consumers should know that information about job vacancies with the U.S. Postal Service, and any federal agency, is freely available from the federal government. Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service never charge application fees, sell study guides for job tests, or guarantee that an applicant will be hired. If positions require a competitive examination - and many do not - the federal agencies doing the hiring usually offer free sample questions to applicants who sign up for the exam.
If a job-seeker responds to such an ad, he or she is likely to pay more than $100, and will receive, in return, printed material with generic information which is available, at no charge, from the Postal Service and from some public libraries.
To help you recognize bogus postal job listings and other federal job scams, the Better Business Bureau suggests you steer clear of suspicious advertisements that:
- Offer information about "hidden" or “unadvertised” federal jobs.
- “Guarantee” placement in a job or offer “too good to be true” wages.
- Refer to a toll-free phone number. If you call, the operator is likely to encourage you to buy a "valuable" booklet containing job listings, practice test questions and tips for entrance exams. All of this information is available for free from the hiring agency.
- Imply an affiliation with the federal government, guarantee high test scores or claim that "no experience” or “no special skills” are needed to quality.
The Better Business Bureau suggests that job-seekers save their time and money and contact their nearest Postal Service employment office to see if postal jobs are available in their area and to obtain the necessary application form. If you have questions about a company's advertisement for employment services, contact your BBB (www.bbb.org).