Crooks target new grads with job scams

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG is On Your Side with a consumer alert for young people.

Con artists are putting a new twist on an old scheme by targeting college graduates.

“I always have a resume in hand so that when I shake a hand, I can put a resume in their hand at the same time,” said SimmieRay Dinkins, a 2014 graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College.

It’s a smart and savvy move for a recent graduate looking to stand out.

“It’s just being prepared for a possible opportunity.”

Dinkins worked full time while getting his undergraduate degree, and his resume is full of leadership awards and activities, but so far, it hasn’t been enough to land a new job.

“Most of the companies when you look at the application, the qualifications, they’re looking for people who have maybe two, three, four years experience,” Dinkins said.

As if it’s not hard enough searching for a job in today’s market, the On Your Side Investigators have learned scammers are taking advantage of young people looking for work.

MidSouth Better Business Bureau President Randy Hutchinson told WREG, “Crooks follow the headlines.”

Hutchinson says the combination of lagging unemployment and spring commencement makes graduates a prime target.

He explained the types of work-from-home scams students should watch out for.

“Mystery shopper scams where you’re hired to supposedly go test the way a company delivers their service, assembling crafts at home, medical billing from home, rebate processing from home.”

Dinkins hasn’t fallen for it, but says he’s been flooded with unsolicited emails about bogus jobs.

“Here you are getting all these spam emails where people are saying some ridiculous amount of, I don’t know, $75,000 for some entry level position for a company that you can’t even Google,” Dinkins said.

Hutchinson told WREG, “Watch out for these grandiose claims that you can make a whole heck of a lot of money with little work, part time perhaps, with no experience.”

Other red flags include:

  • Requirement to spend money up front
  • Generic job titles
  • Requests to send and receive goods or checks
  • Requests to money via wire transactions or prepaid cards
  • Bad spelling and grammar

Dinkins just plans to keep pushing the old fashioned way.

“If I can’t go and shake your hand and sit down with you for an interview, then it’s probably not a safe way to apply for a job.”

The BBB also warns that just because a position is posted on a well known website like Monster or Career Builder doesn’t mean it’s legitimate.

Hutchinson adds it’s critical for job seekers to conduct an internet search for the company name, and exact job title because scammers will often post the same bogus position in different places.

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