College students beware of job scam

June 19, 2010 at 1:19 a.m.

By Alan Bligh

We recently received a call from a parent about her college student who was called out of the blue from a company offering summer employment. It was never determined what the identity of the company was and the company representative eventually hung up when pressed for more information. They also wouldn't say how they got the student's contact information, only that they were referred to him. Soliciting college and high school students for summer employment is something we hear about every year. The pitch to the young person is that they will be employed during the summer doing "marketing" work, which they promote to be glamorous.

The "marketing" jobs are actually selling products either door-to-door or at shopping centers. Usually, the employers pool the youngsters into cars or vans and head to the selling site. Once at the job site, young people are basically stuck until the end of the day. Sometimes the young people are taken to different states. As you can imagine, some real horror stories have come out of these deals.

BBB advises extreme caution when responding to these types of calls.

n Two weeks ago, high wind and rain left many Coastal Bend consumers and businesses in need of repair work on their homes and offices. Our office received a significant increase in consumer inquiries, especially in the area of foliage removal. When these situations arise, remember to check with BBB to find a reliable contractor. Many times, scam artists flock to severe weather disasters and move on, making them difficult to trace. The dishonest contractor just loves hurricanes and the damage they bring. It gives them a chance to make money off the unfortunate victims of Mother Nature.

If something does happen, make sure you call your insurance company before work begins to verify that all necessary procedures are followed, according to your policy. Don't pay large sums of money up front, even just for materials.

n As the oil spill in the Gulf continues to impact coastal communities, many consumers are reaching for their checkbooks to donate money to recovery efforts. BBB reminds consumers and businesses to thoroughly review any organization or charity before making a donation. It's important to ask the right questions before you give or make a pledge. Research the charity with BBB. Beware of inexperienced organizations. New non-profits and relief organizations often spring up following major disasters. While these groups may have the best of intentions, they also may lack the resources and experience needed to be effective. Look for established organizations with environmental expertise or experience aiding Gulf communities.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at



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