Danielle Kane

If you’re like me, the holiday shopping season gives me a pinch of anxiety. Maybe it’s the rush of Black Friday, the panic of procrastination or the stress of finding a parking spot at the mall — it’s a lot to prepare for.

But one thing that can help alleviate the holiday hassle is having extra spending cash. That may mean looking for a seasonal job to bring in additional income.

And you’re in luck, because long before the holidays pop up in our minds, retailers were thinking about, prepping for and stocking up for the busiest shopping time of the year. And that means seasonal hiring is happening now across Central Oregon.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that retailers will hire between 530,000 and 590,000 temporary workers over the 2019 winter holiday season. While December is already upon us, there will be a big crunch between the start of the month and Christmas, as last-minute, temporary positions crop up everywhere.

Unfortunately, there’s a few grinches out there looking to ruin the holiday spirit. Scammers hope to take advantage of those looking for temporary work.

In 2018, over 4,600 employment scams were reported to Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker tool. According to the 2018 BBB Risk Index Report, employment scams were ranked the number one riskiest scam for consumers. Number one!

If you are looking for employment, especially around the holidays, BBB warns to beware of scam job postings, fake recruiter emails and work-at-home schemes — particularly those claiming affiliation with Amazon. These cons often use real company names and can be very convincing, but you are really giving personal information or money to scammers – maybe both.

How to spot this scam:

Some positions are more likely to be scams. Always be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant or customer service rep. Positions that don’t require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads.

If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company’s job page to see if the position is posted there. Look online — if the job comes up in other cities with the exact same post, it’s likely a scam. For example, that cushy work-from-home job from Amazon where you receive packages and mail them out to a third-party could very well be a reshipping scam.

Unusual hiring procedures should raise your suspicion. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers.

You may be an excellent candidate for the job but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring.

And Don’t fall for an overpayment or onboarding scam. For example, you get “hired” and are sent a check for $2,000 — of that, your new employer says $500 needs to be wire elsewhere for “onboarding costs.” Don’t fall for it.

No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee or ask them to handle onboarding costs, then ask for money to be wired back.

This is a common trick used by scammers. And be cautious sharing personal information or any kind of pre-payment. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or big income, but only if you pay for coaching, training, recruiting, certifications or directories.

If you’ve been targeted by one of these scams, report it to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.

This free resource provides a place to research and submit scam-related information, so BBB can investigate further and educate others.

Better Business Bureau wants to ensure you have a happy, and safe, holiday season.

Danielle Kane is the Better Business Bureau marketplace manager for Portland. She can be reached at danielle.kane@thebbb.org.

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