By: Debbie Cruz
Congratulations! You finally proved your dear Aunt Hilda wrong. You’ve achieved graduate status and are now ready to take on the world with diploma in hand and a dream yet to conquer. But alas, nothing in this world is really free, and you think what can be worse than having to spend the rest of your life paying back that Student Loan? Hmm…well, let me see…try having to spend the rest of your life trying aimlessly to clean up your credit history thanks to some dude in Columbus, Ohio who’s stolen your identity compliments of the World Wide Web. Yeah, that’s right, you’ve just handed your vital statistics and life history along with your credit card, address, email and phone number to a scam artist claiming to be an employment recruiter on Craigslist.com.
It’s a scam that’s becoming ever more popular and one that anyone can fall victim to, especially those of us whom are fresh out of college and looking for that first foot in the door opportunity. Remember how mom told you to be careful to never talk to strangers? Well, perhaps she had a point. There’s nothing wrong with being too careful, especially when it comes to sending your resume and credit card information via the internet. As smart as you may be, there’s someone out there who’s using their intelligence to victimize innocent job seekers whom are eager to hand over their information on a silver platter.
So, you may be thinking…how can it happen to me? They can’t do much with my information right? Wrong! Try checking your bank statement to find that instead of having $100 in your checking account, you now have $50 and a weird transaction description from a webaccess.com you have no idea about. How does it happen? Websites such as Craigslist are home to dozens of scam artists who are posting fake job descriptions in the jobs section of the site. While these postings look real and seem to list a plethora of requirements, job descriptions, and pay information, there are some red flags you should be aware of.
Be wary of all job listings on sites like Craigslist which list in the salary description a skeptical range for example of: 30K – 75K for an entry level Admin Assistant. Nobody I know gives such a salary range to start. Hint number two: real companies or employers usually list the name of the company they are from and some will provide a company email address or phone number. When in doubt, send a reply email but be brief. Just let the supposed employer know you’re interested in knowing more about the position. If it’s legit, they’ll email you back with more details. If you get an email requesting that you must log onto another website to provide your personal information along with social security number or credit card information, STOP…don’t proceed.
Websites such as Careerbuilder, Monster and Hotjobs you’ll also need to be careful with, but do list legitimate job opportunities most of the time. Do your research first before applying for a job. Do a little Google search and make sure the contact person and company don’t have any previous illicit activity to hide. Go in person to a company you’re interested in and inquire if they have applications you can fill out in person. Speak with an employment recruiter for agencies such as Kelly Services and Adecco which can sit down with you and explore several career options and do the dirty work for you. You’ve just spent 4 years in College, that’s hard enough…don’t make the simple mistake of handing your life over to a crook. Now relax and enjoy your diploma and best of luck on your job search.
Thank you Debbie for your insight and no doubt many of our followers will benefit from your comments.