(Marinette County Emergency Management)
With spring break behind them, many Wisconsin high school and college students will soon launch an online search for summer employment. While there are plenty of opportunities posted for students seeking temporary work statewide, blended among the legitimate listings may be a wealth of fake job ads posted by scammers looking to empty job seekers’ pockets and steal their personal information.
Officials from the Wisconsin Departments of Workforce Development (DWD) and Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) are asking students to be extremely suspicious of questionable job postings, particularly those that seem “too good to be true” or that ask for upfront payment.
“Swindlers will try any number of tactics to separate you from your money, including ‘get rich quick’ ploys, fake check scams and work-at-home promises,” said Frank Frassetto, DATCP Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “The key to identifying job scams masked as promising employment offers is to employ a healthy dose of skepticism and to thoroughly research the company and the nature of the work.”
DWD operates JobCenterofWisconsin.com, the state’s free, 24-hour online public labor exchange that connects talent with opportunity and currently has over 95,000 job postings. While DWD strives to validate the identity of all employer representatives who post jobs directly on the site, users are also advised to use caution if they opt to search external sites from JobCenterofWisconsin.com.
“At the Job Center of Wisconsin, the security and satisfaction of all registered job seekers and employers are top priorities,” DWD Division of Employment & Training Division Administrator Chytania Brown said. “As we continue to seek ways to protect our system from attempts to misuse the website, we also know that scam artists are getting more sophisticated. It’s vital for all users to remain vigilant and proactive in protecting themselves from potential online scams involving any online employment site.”
JobCenterofWisconsin.com includes a list of cautions, including many that are applicable to any online employment site. DWD and DATCP offer the following tips to help students protect themselves when they seek seasonal jobs using online sites:
- It is not common or normal practice for an employer to ask for bank account numbers (or similar personal financial information) on an initial application. Be wary and use good judgment if unusual information is requested.
- Be suspicious of any job offer that requires an upfront fee. Do not provide credit card or bank account numbers and be especially careful of requests for payment by wire transfer.
- Any “job” that requires you to cash checks and send a chunk off to another party is a scam.
- Beware of employment ads that list a 900 telephone number. You will be charged either a flat fee or a per-minute cost for each 900 call.
- Be cautious when dealing with any contacts outside of the United States. It is difficult to pursue any enforcement action against a person located outside of this country.
- Research an organization before making any commitments. Ask for information about the company, including its street address and the name of its owner or chief operating officer. You may wish to call DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) to check on complaints against the business.
- Get the job offer in writing, including any earnings you are expected to make.
For additional information on job opportunities in Wisconsin, visit the Job Center of Wisconsin website.
A number of DATCP fact sheets relating to job scams can be found on the agency’s consumer fact sheets webpage under the “Employment” heading.