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It won’t be long before school is out and students will be looking for summer jobs. Many graduating students will also be looking for their first jobs. The problem: There are a number of active employment scams that can derail any job search.

Secret shopper, re-shipper or mail forwarding, customer service, and telemarketing are common employment schemes used by scammer. One tell-tale sign of a potential employment scam is in the job title and description – both are very generic and short on details. Bogus job listings use titles like “import/export specialists,” “mail managers,” “gift wrappers,” or “marketing managers.”

Job hunters that apply for these types of positions may be asked, illegally, to provide personally identifying information, bank or credit card account information. If “hired” by the company, an “employee” may be asked to deposit a check into their bank account and forward a portion of the money to a third-party. The only problem is that the check is counterfeit, making the applicant liable for all funds spent as well as bank fees. If asked to reship packages for a fee, an “employee” may actually be forwarding stolen or illegal merchandise.

Look out for these red flags as well, when doing your job search:

  • Emails claiming to be from job posting websites claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account. Job hunters might receive a phishing e-mail saying there has been a problem with their user accounts for,, or others. Phishing e-mails like this are designed to convince readers to click a link within the message that will actually take them to a website that will install malware or viruses on their computer.
  • An employer asks for extensive personal information such as social security or bank account numbers. Regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, a job applicant should never give out his or her Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone or e-mail.
  • An employer asks for money upfront. Aside from paying for a uniform, it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees for “background checks” or make a required purchase to get a job.
  • The job requires the employee to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram. Many phony jobs require the prospective employee to cash a check sent by the company through the mail and then wire a portion of the money on to another entity. The check might clear the employee’s bank account but will eventually turn out to be a fake, and the employee is out the money he or she wired back to the scammers.
  • Watch out for these phrases and descriptions: Scam ads often contain the phrases “Teleworking OK,” “Immediate Start” and “No Experience Needed.” Wording such as “package forwarding,” “reshipping,” “money transfers,” “wiring funds” and “foreign agent agreements” should also be considered a red flag.

Watch out for ads that urge you to apply immediately.

For more information, go to Look Out for Fake Job Offers.

Contact your BBB or the Federal Trade Commission if you have questions about the legitimacy of a job listing.

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.