Published in The DePaulia on May 24, 2010.
College students and recent graduates have become prime targets for unrealistic job listings and DePaul students are no exception.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), open job boards have been infested with scam artists looking for new victims. Offenders consider college students and recent graduates as ideal candidates for the job and money making scams because of the desire for quick cash.
“It allows for anyone to post any new opportunity,” junior Zachary Stafford said. “I think it keeps up with our society’s new ideals around information instant gratification.”
Job boards such as Craigslist, Monster, Bing and Career Builder have all been sources for con artists to target the youth of a jobless America. However, each board claims that they are not involved in any transactions done and therefore cannot be held accountable.
“I’ve seen listings for easy money,” Steven Young said. “I’m always so tempted, but something inside of me says ‘don’t bother.’”
A recent victim of a scam (that did not want to be identified) stated that the criminals who post these listings usually live in a completely different state and are asking for an immediate hire. They use jobs such as personal assistant, mystery shopper and office clerk to get individuals intrigued.
Junior Brandon Bailey agreed that along with the promise of a quick hiring process comes the enticing allure of easy money that can be directly deposited into your bank account. Professional con artists make the process seem authentic and demanding in time so that an individual rushes in making a possible life changing decision.
“I sent them my resume and within the hour I received a response,” freshman Katie Sneed said (alias per request). “I thought it was weird, but I really needed a job and thought that this was the answer to my prayers.”
Sneed said that an immediate response entails the notification of hire and the description of what is to be expected from your newly found position without an interview.
Craigslist offers scam recognition in which they describe ways to spot a con artist. The job board concludes that the criminals’ demands generally consist of requesting your personal information such as: name, phone number, address and possibly your bank account number while promising cashier’s checks and money grams.
“We have to realize that these things do occur and if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is,” Bailey said. “Someone sent a friend of mine a message saying that they liked his resume for a personal assistant position and they sent him a check to cover expenses, half his payment, and half the payment for outside sourcing. He was sent a certified check for just over $3,500 that ended up bouncing.”
There are actions taking place to change the access these scam artists have to open job boards. The FTC recently announced at a conference on Feb. 17 a new method in cracking down on these criminals.
Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, David C. Vladeck, stated that scam artists are tricking job seekers into parting with their last dollars.
“Operation Bottom Dollar” has brought to close 11 cases of scams that deal with open job boards. However, this ruling only temporarily bars the con artists’ illegal tactics in money making. The FTC is also in the process of negotiating terms that would allow reimbursement to the victims of such criminal activity.
“Federal and state law enforcement officials will not tolerate those who take advantage of consumers in times of economic misfortune,” Vladeck said.
Sneed stated that open job boards were just sites that helped people find jobs.
“When I found out it was a scam it was too late,” she said. “I cut off all communication possible [with the con artist] because there wasn’t much else I could do I guess, except cry.”
Filing a complaint at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP provides the Federal Trade Commission with the tools to continue to crack down on criminals and keep job searches safe.
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