AUSTIN, Texas -- As college students start to get back into the swing of things for the spring semester, many will look to pick up part-time jobs they can take on along with their course work. With the increase in job searching come scammers trying to take advantage of this influx.
Erin Dufner is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) that works for Central Texas. She said this scam focused on college students, specifically.
"They sound great, Dufner said. "They might be part-time, certainly really convenient."
Scammers do this on purpose, and that is why right now, with many college students looking for work, fake job offers are popping up in places many think they can trust.
"Some of these ads may be talking about starting a job now," Dufner said. "Some of them may be starting to recruit for that summer influx of jobs. We really need to keep our eyes open for these fake scams."
What is making these scams smarter than most is how they are targeting college students. Many send fake job applications through student-run email servers while others will post on legitimate college employment websites. Once the student accepts the job, he or she will receive a counterfeit check to deposit into their bank. Often times, this fake company will ask you to send back some of that paycheck for "work materials." if the student starts taking these steps, the damage has already been done.
"They could be considered liable through your bank and maybe even through law enforcement that you are passing counterfeit checks," Dufner said. "Not only are you responding to these fake job ads and losing money, you might have your identity stolen. And what might be impacting students seven to ten years down the line, their credit could take a hit. They are trying to build their credit once they graduate, they need that credit to start their lives."
During 2016, more than 200 employment-related scams were reported to the BBB in the state of Texas. People in Texas lost about $40,000 due to these scams. In the nation, people lost $10.8 million.
There are some things to look out for help keep an eye out for these fake jobs. Never accept a job asking you to wire money from part of your paycheck for work materials. Look for poor use of English in emails or job postings. You should also expect the company to meet you in person. If you take these steps, you'll be better protected against fake jobs.
To learn about other warnings the FBI has brought up to look out for, you click here.
If you think you found or received one of these fake job applications -- it's important to report them to keep others from falling victim. If you attend a college and receive the email through your email server, you should get in contact with your school IT team. You can also get in contact with the local BBB team by clicking here.