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BBB: Summer job employment scams target students

With classes about to break for the semester, university students are looking to snag summer jobs -- and some scammers have been taking advantage, according to the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB Scam Tracker has gotten reports of university emails being used to recruit students for fake job opportunities.

Scam Tracker data from last year showed that employment scams are the riskiest for students and those between the ages of 18 and 24 with the median loss reported being $1,204.

Before school is out for the summer, BBB wants to make sure that students have a firm grasp on the red flags for these scams so they don’t become victims.

How the scam works:

  • Scammers will post job advertisements seeking college students for various temporary positions. Recent BBB Scam Tracker reports state that the students have received spoofed emails from their institution advising them of job opportunities.
  • The student “employee” will receive a counterfeit check that is supposedly for payment or to be used to purchase supplies for their position. They will be instructed to deposit it into their personal bank account.
  • The student is then instructed to send funds elsewhere, often times via wire transfer, other times using gift cards or cash apps to “vendors” or for supposed overpayment to the student “employee."
  • But the checks are flagged as fraudulent by the bank and the student ends up owing the bank the funds they paid to the scammer.

How to spot the red flags before you become a victim:

  • Never accept an employment position that requires depositing checks and sending funds elsewhere.
  • Always be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant or customer service rep. Positions that don't require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads.
  • Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring.
  • Look for poor use of the English language in emails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization and tenses in the job posting.

To report a scam or fraudulent activity visit bbb.org/scamtracker.