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Every week, join Sydney Waters as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Avoiding Job Scams This Holiday Season

Online application form for modish registration on the internet website
Ralf Hahn/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Online application form for modish registration on the internet website

Retailers and shippers traditionally hire seasonal workers to fulfill holiday shoppers' demands, whether online or in person. These jobs are a great way to make extra money, sometimes with the possibility of turning into a long-term employment opportunity. However, they are sometimes not all that they seem.

When looking for something part-time or to fill the gap until a better opportunity comes, the Better Business Bureau has some suggestions to make the seasonal job hunt successful. According to the 2022 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, employment scams rose to the second riskiest in 2022. Being proactive in finding the right opportunity is key but be careful when a job just seems too good to be true.

Tips to avoid holiday job scams:

  • Employers will never ask for payment upfront for a job. Beware businesses that ask applicants to pay for job supplies, application, or training fees. These expenses are the employer's responsibility -  and asking for money is a big red flag that something is wrong.
  • Be wary of job offers that don't require an interview. Even during the peak hiring season, reputable companies prefer to talk to top job candidates before hiring them. If a job offer is presented without an interview (on the phone or in person) or is offered only via the Internet, question the company's hiring practices and do a little more digging.
  • Be wary of big money for small jobs. If an employer promises outrageously good wages for simple tasks such as reshipping packages, stuffing envelopes, or answering phones, this is a red flag. These too-good-to-be-true offers are an attempt to steal your personal information from a fake job application and can cause problems for you for a long time.
  • Never work for a company before they hire you. A legitimate company will not ask potential applicants to complete complex projects before making an official offer. Before beginning any work, request an offer letter or written confirmation of what the job entails, including an official start date and compensation details.
Sydney Waters is the new Regional Director of Better Business Bureau in Cape Girardeau and responsible for outreach efforts in Southern Illinois and Eastern and Southwest Missouri.