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It's almost May, meaning that many high school and college students are tracking down summer employment. And if you haven't found your summer job yet, you might be feeling a little desperate. But don't let that desperation cloud your better judgment. Scammers are looking to take advantage of online job seekers, especially via Google Hangout interviews.
The summer job scam, in one form or another, has been around for a few years, so here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you don't get scammed this summer.
Signs of a Scam
In some versions of the scam, victims get job offer emails out of the blue, and in others they get responses to job applications. Often, the interview will take place over an online messenger service like Google Hangouts, or the fake hiring manager will ask you to download software and answer questions regarding your qualifications.
Before the interview you may be asked to pay an "interview fee," and after a "successful" interview, you may in turn be told to purchase training materials for your new job. In some instances, you may even get a check that the company asks you to cash and return some of the money.
You may also be asked to provide personal information for hiring and employment purposes: Social Security number, driver's license number, and bank account information (for your paycheck, of course). Be aware that all of this information could be used to access your financial assets or steal your identity.
Better Job Prospects Bureau
So how do you distinguish between real job prospects and a spurious scam? The Better Business Bureau can help:
Happy summer job hunting out there, students, and stay safe!