State consumer protection officials are looking to help teenagers stay safe from scammers while looking for their upcoming summer jobs.
There’s a number of scams that can run during the job-hunting season, according to Michelle Reinen, DATCP’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Businesses throughout Wisconsin are on the hunt for good candidates, but mixed within legitimate employment listings are job postings made by scam artists.”
Reinen says teens should be wary of any job that require them to purchase their own merchandise up front. “In order to do that legitimately, they need to say ‘to earn this amount of money, you have to invest x, y, z amount of money’, and those rates of return would have to be true.” She says that also include ‘jobs’ that ask people to cash checks and return money to the ‘business’.
Other potential hazards that job seekers should be on the hunt for are businesses that ask for personally identifiable information up front. “They don’t need to know your Social Security or bank account number until you get to that second stage where, boy, you’re the candidate they think they want in that job, and maybe there’s a background check that needs to be done.” Reinen says those questions should never be on a first application.
You should also be wary of completed job offers sent directly to your email. Many of these offers will be vague and undefined, promising pay and benefits without actually saying what the company is or who they are or what they do.
If you are looking for a job, Reinen recommends using the state’s own Job Center of Wisconsin website. You can find reputable jobs posted from vetted employers, and post your resume for employers to find.
Job seekers choosing to use other websites to search of a new position should be cautious. Reinen says you should make sure of just where you are going. “Be real cautious that you’re using the real website and not some impostor website, because those scam artists are very good at impersonating legitimate, reputable companies.”
If you have any questions on searching safely for a job or are looking for help after being scammed, you may wish to call DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) or head to their website at https://datcp.wi.gov.