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Young and Eager for Work Make for Easy Prey on the Job Hunt

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A headhunter appears on a morning talk show to discuss summer job hunting strategies and how students can stand out from the crowd.

CREDIT: Flickr/ TalentEgg

College seniors across the country added another bullet to the second semester to-do list: Find a job. Scrambling to get cover letters edited and resumes updated, students forget to thoroughly research companies and positions that they come across in their search. Cue job scammers, trying to find their next target.

Last year, Salon.com posted a narrative from Christopher Spata, a young man who fell for a scam on Craigslist. Spata wrote that unemployment made him desperate enough to believe that a trustworthy-seeming man would pay him to sign up for trial offers online. While fraud on Craigslist is common, job scams crop up on on most major job boards like Indeed and Monster. In 2010, the FTC reported seven new cases filed against job scammers, one of which victimized more than 100,000 people.

Scammers pocket money from those eager to find employment by asking for a small fee for training purposes before sending a fraudulent check for the first week’s pay, which bounces weeks later. Other "scams" can involve a simple stretch of the facts, turning a "marketing position" for college graduate into a minimum wage job giving samples at a local wholesale retail store.

Ed Magedson runs Ripoff Report, a website dedicated to allowing people to send reports about their scamming experiences.

“College students and young people in general are more savvy than most,” Magedson told Campus Progress. “You just need to Google [the company] and see what they’re connected with. When you get onto Google just add the word Ripoff or lawsuit next to the name.”

The New York State Department of Labor also created a website to help help people avoid swindlers, detailing some red flags to watch for while applying for jobs.

Though fraudsters are hard to catch, Magedson reminded young people: “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.” 

Aditi Pai is a reporter for Campus Progress.

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