New York, NY – As August draws to a close, thousands of college students are moving to the Metropolitan New York area for the first time or returning after being away. According to BBB’s first Scam TrackerSM Report, younger consumers are especially susceptible to employment scams – one of the top three types of scams affecting 18-24 year olds. Work-related scams also put students at risk of exposure to identity theft.
“Young adults are vulnerable to employment scams,” says Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the BBB Serving Metropolitan New York, adding, “Following a few tips, students can identify and avoid scammers.”
Getting a job to make ends meet may be a situation faced by those attending college. Use caution when responding to online job advertisements or working with placement services.
- Never give out your credit card or bank information in order to apply for a job.
- Never pay for a job placement service, particularly ones that offer jobs that sound too good to be true or those that claim they guarantee a job. Legitimate agencies do not charge fees to job seekers.
- Check for a license if working with a job placement agency. Employment agencies operating in New York City must be licensed through the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
- Be cautious using online job sites and be skeptical of those who send unsolicited email or reach-out unbidden on social media about jobs. Some may be scammers.
- Check on the legitimacy of a job advertisement before sending or uploading your resume which contains precious identity information. Uploading your resume to potentially unscrupulous job placement services may open you up to a host of scam possibilities. Screen the advertising business – as well as the job website where the ad appears – by viewing its BBB Profile, and check on its reputation through web searches instead of clicking links they might provide.
- Be suspicious of companies having similar business names and websites which may be spoofing a legitimate company.
- Explore any job placement services your college or university offers. However, caution should be used even with listings from a school’s job board since they may not be able to vet the legitimacy of every job posting.
- Be aware of a scam, which may be work-related, whereby a company overpays you and later asks for the overpayment to be sent back in a wire transfer or a gift card. Typically, their check will bounce and the victim suffers a loss of the transferred repayment, as well as potentially incurring bounced-check fees.
Students will have opportunities to make many new contacts during the years they spend attending college. It may be tempting in this environment to post personal information on social media and other college-related websites. However, students need to be aware that their postings may expose key pieces of information that scammers will be able to use to commit identity theft, hack social media accounts, or scam friends or relatives.
- Before posting something, think twice about whether those details might be used by a scammer.
- If you receive an unsolicited phone call, email, text, or social post – whether they claim to be a bank at which you hold an account, a government agency, or another legitimate-sounding business – do not verify information. Contact the supposed source directly to find out if a call was made.
- Do not give out your Social Security number or other personal information to anyone, unless it is for a legitimate entity that is well known to you, and only when it’s absolutely necessary for business or student purposes. If you must provide this critical information, ask how the receiving party protects your data.
- Protect personal electronic device data and confidential information with strong, unique passwords. According to recent reports, a string of unrelated words that are easy to remember may be “stronger” as a password. Do not use the same password for every site and consider using a password management program. Do not store passwords on a personal device.
- Use public WiFi cautiously as fake or even legitimate WiFi can be used by scammers to infect devices with malware and steal data.
Consumers can view scam patterns and report a suspected scam to BBB’s Scam Tracker, and to the Federal Trade Commission. Sharing this information will help protect others. To research a business or charity, file a complaint, or post a customer review, go to Ask BBB.
About BBB Serving Metropolitan New York
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 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. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the regional, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. The BBB Serving Metropolitan New York was founded in 1922. Please visit newyork.bbb.org or bbb.org for more information.
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