With hundreds of thousands of high school, college and university graduates heading towards a new chapter of their lives, some scammers are eager to take advantage of their lack of real-world experience.
"Last year we saw a 130 per cent increase in how much young adults were losing to employment scams," says Simone Lis, President and CEO of BBB Serving Mainland BC.
"As we enter into a post-pandemic summer where employers are eagerly looking for new talent, we encourage recent graduates to ensure they're staying alert as they head into the professional workforce."
Scammers often offer high-paying, easy, or entry-level jobs when conducting employment scams.
They're skilled at drawing people in by promoting unrealistic wages for generalized job positions, such as virtual assistant or customer service rep.
Once 'hired', the employee may be asked to provide personal information, including your bank account details and Social Insurance Number (SIN) under the premise of setting up your direct deposit and employment file.
In some cases, they may even state that the potential new employee must cover the costs of training or equipment needed for their new position.
The third common scam is 'accidentally' sending an overpayment and subsequently asking to have the extra funds sent back.
A young B.C. resident shared her experience with BBB, stating, "They contacted me by email saying they found my resume on Indeed and believed I was a great candidate for their Buying Assistant position.
"All the communications happened virtually, even the interview. They took my B.C. Driver’s License, bank details and my picture. Later, they told me to increase my daily withdrawal limit and asked me to convert their cash to a bitcoin cheque. It’s the moment I realized it was a scam. Though I didn’t lose money, I lost my personal and banking information to the scammer."
To help new grads navigate their job hunting journey, BBB offers the following tips:
- Weed out suspicious job posts
- Do extra research on postings that mention work-from-home, package reshipment, and secret shopper positions, as well as any jobs with generic titles such as administrative assistant, or customer service rep. If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the company's website and careers page to confirm that the position is also posted there. If the job comes up in other cities with the exact same posting, there’s a strong probability it’s a scam.
- Uncommon procedures should raise your suspicion
- Any sort of pressure to sign or onboard is a red flag. Raise concern when receiving a job offer without an interview. Be careful if a company promises great opportunities or a big income under the condition that the employee pays for coaching, training, certifications or directories. Do not provide your SIN number, driver's license, or date of birth until after you are officially hired.
- Government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely
- Government agencies never charge for information about jobs or applications for jobs. Be wary of any offer stating special access or a guaranteed placement for a fee.
- Never deposit unexpected or fishy checks
- Be cautious sharing any kind of personal information (including your banking and credit card details) or accepting any kind of prepayment. Don’t fall for an overpayment scam, no legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere.
- If working with a recruiter, get all details and contracts in writing
- A legitimate recruiter will provide a complete contract for their services, including what the job seeker receives and what happens if the job seeker does not find a job. Be aware that recruiters are not allowed to charge employees, they charge employers.
If you encounter an employment scam, you're encouraged to report it to the BBB's scam tracker.
For more information, you can also visit the BBB's website.