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Students urged to beware of summer job scams

Students and individuals ages 25 to 34 are the most susceptible and likely to be victimized by employment scams.
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The Victoria Day long weekend is usually a marker for students to start job hunting.

Many hope to secure employment as early as possible, so they can maximize their earnings over the three-month summer break. However, with employment scams being among the riskiest across Canada for 2020, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is urging job-seeking students to be aware of fake job postings.

The BBB's 2020 Canadian Scam Tracker Risk Report identified that students and individuals ages 25 to 34 were the most susceptible and likely to be victimized by employment scams. Sixty-five per cent of reported employment scams were related to becoming a “warehouse redistribution coordinator” or some similar title involving the reshipment of packages, some of which involve stolen goods. In many cases, scammers impersonated well-known retailers, like Amazon and Walmart, to appear legitimate.

“More than half of employment scam victims were seeking work-from-home opportunities,” said Karla Laird, the BBB’s senior manager for media communications.

“As students search for flexible employment options, they need to keep in mind that not all the jobs being posted are legitimate and remember to verify details before submitting resumes with all their personal information. Employment scams don’t just affect those who lose money. For every employment scam victim who lost money last year, at least one other worked without pay and yet another lost personal information that could lead to identity theft.”

To avoid employment scams targeting students looking for summertime employment, BBB is sharing the following tips:

• Some positions are more likely to be scams. Be wary of package reshipment and secret shopper positions, as well as any jobs with generic titles such as caregiver, administrative assistant or customer service representative. Positions that do not require special training or knowledge appeal to a wide range of applicants, which scammers use to cast a wider net for potential victims. If the job posting is for a well-known company, check the company’s website to determine if the position is legitimate. If the posting can be found in multiple cities with the exact same wording, it may be a scam. Jobs that advertise themselves as “high pay and flexible schedules” are extremely appealing to students searching for summer jobs, a fact scammers use to their advantage. Be cautious of postings that use this type of language.

• Be wary of aggressive employment offers. Pressure from the employer to start immediately may be a red flag. Choosing a place to work is an important decision that requires time for consideration. Be especially wary if the position is offered without an interview or promises a large income under the condition the employee pays for coaching, training, equipment or certifications.

• Do not deposit unexpected or suspicious cheques. Be cautious with your social insurance number and banking information. Also, watch out for signs of an overpayment scam. Legitimate companies will not overpay an employee and ask for compensation by requiring money to be wired elsewhere.

• Get contracts in writing. Employee requirements, qualifications, job duties, remuneration and the duration of employment should all be in writing.