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Employment scams targeting young adults, warns bureau

Lookout for suspicious job opportunities.
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BBB is warning young adults looking for jobs to be wary of scammers.

If you’re a new high school, college or university graduate, be careful of scams offering high pay for entry-level jobs.

In 2021, there was a 130-per-cent increase of young adults falling for employment scams, according to Simone Lis, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Mainland BC.

“As we enter into a post-pandemic summer where employers are eagerly looking for new talent, we encourage recent graduates to ensure they're staying alert as they head into the professional workforce,” said Lis.

Scammers are targeting people who are lacking real-world experience and are offering unrealistic wages for general job positions such as virtual assistant or customer service representative.

Once the individual is “hired” employees are asked to provide personal information, including bank account details and Social Insurance Number (SIN) to set up a direct deposit account.

Some scammers may even ask people to pay for their own training or equipment.

Another common employment scam is when a person “accidentally” receives an overpayment and is asked to have the extra funds sent back.

A young B.C. resident, who was scammed of her personal information and banking information, shared her experience with BBB.

She was contacted by email that her resume was found on Indeed and offered her a “buying assistant position.”

All communication was done virtually, and she was asked to provide her BC Driver’s Licence, bank details and a picture.

“Later, they told me to increase my daily withdrawal limit and asked me to convert their cash to a bitcoin cheque. It’s the moment I realized it was a scam,” she told BBB.

Tips to make sure you don’t get scammed during a job hunt:

  • Do extra research on postings that mention work-from-home, package reshipment and secret shopper positions. If a job posting is for a well-known brand, check the company’s career page to confirm the position.
  • Receiving a job offer without an interview is a red flag. Be careful of companies promising amazing opportunities or a big income under the condition that the employee pays for coaching, training, certifications, etc. Never provide your social insurance number, driver’s license or date of birth until after you are officially hired.
  • Government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely. These agencies will never charge for information about jobs or applications. Be wary of special access or guaranteed placement for a fee.
  • Never deposit unexpected fishy cheques. Be cautious about sharing any kind of personal information or accepting any kind of prepayment. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere.
  • A legitimate recruiter will provide a complete contract for their services, including what the job seeker receives and what happens if the job seeker does not find a job.

Employment scams can be to be reported to www.BBB.org/ScamTracker.