(New York, NY - June 25, 2018) Whether you’re a recent graduate looking for your first job or a veteran worker looking for a new gig, use caution when responding to online job advertisements or working with unfamiliar employment agencies. BBB Serving Metro New York has noted a growing number of job scam reports in the past year.“We have seen a surge in the number of these heartless scams, which may involve unwitting consumers in crimes,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President & CEO of BBB Serving Metro New York. “Job hunters should watch out for common scam features: they include work offers from strangers with little or no vetting; demands to pay money up front for an application, training or supplies; requests to forward packages or partial payments; and unrealistically high pay for minimal or low-skilled work.” Since June 1, 2017, individuals in the U.S. have filed 3,316 complaints with BBB’s Scam TrackerSM reporting employment scams – 169 of them from New York State. Many of these reports allege that job scams resulted in consumer losses of thousands of dollars.Common scams involve bogus employment offers relating to re-shipping packages, setting up local offices for businesses located elsewhere, checking out stores as a secret shopper, participating in job training, or working from home.An especially devious scheme is the “pay for training” phony employment agency scenario. Consumers reported finding online listings that claimed the agency had a position available, sometimes multiple positions, such as receptionists, front desk clerks or security guards. In many cases, scam victims said they were required to pay for a certificate, for training (OSHA, fire safety or security), or for training materials. After they paid the fee, and in some cases, attended the training, job prospects did not materialize. Some consumers were told they were scheduled for an interview with a company that was supposedly hiring. However, when they showed up for their appointment, they learned that no positions were available and that the company had never heard of the bogus employment agency. After job seekers realized they were duped, they were unable to reach the employment agency to request a refund. Often, the scammers packed up and left their temporary, furnished office space without a trace. Emails and phone calls were not answered, and the consumers lost money on advance fees, as well as time wasted on the scam.BBB Serving Metro New York urges job hunters to consider the following tips.When Using Job Websites:Scam jobs can be found even on legitimate, well-known websites. Investigate the legitimacy of a job ad and the website where it appears by viewing their BBB Profiles and searching the web -- before sending or uploading your resume. If you receive unsolicited email or social media posts about a job, be wary and avoid clicking provided links. If a recruiter or agency uses a free email account instead of a professional domain email address, that is a warning sign of a potential scam. Watch out for companies that have business names and websites similar to those of well-known firms. They may be spoofing legitimate companies.When Considering Employment Agencies:Check licensing if working with a job placement agency. Most employment agencies operating in New York must be licensed with the New York State Department of Labor, and with a few exceptions, those in New York City must also be licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. Many employment agencies charge fees to the employer rather than the applicant. This arrangement can be good for the job searcher, but in such cases be aware that the agency’s client is the employer. New York State permits employment agencies to charge fees to applicants under strictly limited circumstances – generally, after the applicant has been hired in a job through the agency, in accordance with a written contract. Avoid applicant-fee-charging firms that do not comply with state legal requirements. Be sure to read fee contracts carefully and understand all terms before signing.Avoid job placement services offering jobs that sound too good to be true or that claim they can guarantee a job. In General:Be sure you are dealing with a legitimate employer before you provide any personal identity information. Employers should not ask you to provide a social security number before you have been hired. Avoid job offers that require payment for training or supplies. Do not give out your credit card or bank information to apply for a job. Do not accept job offers from employers asking you to receive and re-ship packages, which may contain stolen goods.Never accept jobs requiring you to deposit checks (which eventually bounce), purchase items and ship them, or forward balances due, especially by non-recoverable methods such as wire transfer or gift cards.If a job sounds too good to be true…it is probably a scam. See additional tips about work at home and other job scams here. About BBB Serving Metropolitan New YorkFor more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB Serving Metropolitan New York was founded in 1922, and serves New York City, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson region. Visit bbb.org for more information.