Gordon Bowlden, who has searched at Job Service, local bulletin boards, and online, says he’s had little to no luck finding a position.
A qualified handyman, he has been looking for work for the past seven months. He recently responded to a posting on craigslist.com, hoping that it would be a good fit.
The ad read: Service Technician with Culligan in Boise – must be willing to relocate to the Boise area.
When he responded, the reply he received (directly quoted) stated: “Today, our client forwarded us your recent inquiry about a vacant position. Af ter reviewing your resume and information we have decided to move forward you and start a screening process. This position is open for immediate hiring, and the client is looking for the right applicant as soon as possible.”
Bowlden responded by filling out a short application through what thought was a secure website. He provided a great deal of personal information, including his SSN and any information needed for "Culligan" to pull a credit report.
After a couple of days passed without any further acknowledgement, he became worried and contacted BBB. BBB contacted the Culligan dealer who confirmed no position was available, and no ad had been placed on Craigslist. Bowlden appears to be a victim of Internet advertising fraud.
BBB issues the following guidelines when responding to Internet help wanted ads:
Exercise Caution. When using social networking sites like Facebook and online employment sites such as Craigslist, be sure to check the actual Web site of the company posting the position to verify it actually exists. If you don’t see it on their site, chances are it’s a scam.
Guard Your Resume. Some job seekers have uploaded their resume online but remember to make sure you only upload it for a legitimate purpose and company. Resumes often contain personal information, ripe for identity theft thieves.
Start with Trust. Many scams use names that are similar to reputable companies to trick job seekers. BBB recommends that job seekers check out the company first at bbb.org and to apply through the actual company site whenever possible.
Never Pay Upfront Fees. No legitimate job offer will require out of pocket expenses from a potential employee for background checks, credit reports or administrative fees before an interview.
Protect Personal Information. Job seekers should never provide their social security number or birth date until they have verified the position is legitimate. Additionally, job seekers should never provide bank account information for direct deposit setup until they have officially been hired.
Be Careful of the “Perfect Offer.” Job seekers should be cautious of any posting advertising extremely high pay for short hours or minimal required experience. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Avoid Work-at-Home Offers. Most jobs that imply you can work from home or rake in cash are a ploy to trap you into giving away your credit card information, cashing fake checks, or paying for training that should be free. Job seekers should understand employees working from home generally go through the traditional in-person interviews and hiring process and often have prior experience in what they are doing, work for a salary, or have spent time and money developing the market for their work.
Report Fraud. If you find a job scam or Internet fraud, including Craigslist scams, report it to BBB by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and contact the Internet Fraud Complaint Center at 800.251.3221 or go to www.ic3.gov.
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