Watch for clues of Internet job scams
By Alan Bligh
As you may have seen in the news, Better Business Bureau Education Foundation and the Golden Crescent Area Agency on Aging have announced a collaborative effort to offer Victoria-area senior citizens, their families and caregivers increased access to informational services. The combined resources of both organizations will provide assistance to seniors on marketplace, health and other issues. The signing of the "memorandum of understanding" took place during the monthly meeting of the GCAAA Advisory Committee on July 20. Under this agreement, BBB Education Foundation and the Golden Crescent AAA will partner to offer consumer education resources to Victoria-area seniors through seminars, fairs and other community events. Additionally, BBB Education Foundation and AAA will provide call referral services to ensure consumers are connected with the organization most suited to handle their needs. Part of our BBB Education Foundation function will be to help inform the public on the many services offered by AAA. Our thanks to GCAAA director, Cindy Cornish, for her support and especially for her passion and dedication in helping seniors.
Again I talk of job scams - they are on the rise. Job seekers beware. Bogus foreign companies are advertising in help wanted ads on Internet job sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilders.com or Yahoo HotJobs. The ads claim to be looking for an "import/export specialist," "marketing manager," or "financial manager." Job seekers are asked to forward money from one account to another or to reship stolen merchandise to overseas companies as part of their employment duties. Consumers who respond to the ads are told that the employer is in a foreign country and needs an American contact to handle its business in the U.S. Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to help job seekers avoid these types of scams:
Avoid job listings that use these descriptions: "package forwarding," "reshipping," "money transfers," "wiring funds" and "foreign agent agreements." These and similar phrases should raise a red flag.
Do not be fooled by official-sounding corporate names. Some scam artists operate under names that sound like those of long-standing, reputable firms.
Never forward or transfer money from any of your personal accounts on behalf of your employer. Also, be suspicious if you are asked to "wire" money to an employer. If a legitimate job requires you to make money transfers, the money should be withdrawn from the employer's business account, not yours.
Do not give out your personal financial information. A potential legitimate employer will not request your bank account, credit card or Paypal account number.
Do not fax copies of your ID or Social Security number to someone you have never met. Credit checks and fake IDs can be obtained with this information. Only give these documents to your employer when you are physically at the place of employment.
If you have questions about the legitimacy of a job listing, contact us, your Better Business Bureau, your state or local consumer agency or the Federal Trade Commission.
Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at abligh@corpuschristi. bbb.org.