By Robb Hicken, BBB
When the calls began to come in Thursday morning asking about the job at Idaho Power, the human resources department began to scramble.
A job scam, posted on Craigslist – an online classified listing service, started collecting personal and financial information about people with the promise of being selected for the position.
Human Resources Leader Angelique Keavney says, “The unknowing participant goes from thinking he or she has a new job and supplying information for a background check, to learning they’ve been targeted once their identity or bank accounts are compromised.”
Like most businesses caught in this type of scam, it was a quick investigation and the truth was uncovered.
“All scams are terrible, but this one is truly despicable,” she says.
While job postings were listed on Craigslist, Keavney warned that Friday morning there was also one on the State of Idaho’s Department of Labor website. That one has since been removed.
“Idaho Power is certainly a desirable place to apply for a position,” she said. “It’s extremely unfortunate that someone would prey on people who are seeking employment.”
Job scams have many different twists. Scammers may ask job seekers to pay upfront for training, which never materializes. Or they may “hire” you and send a fake check. The con artists will instruct you to deduct a fraction for payment and wire the rest back.
Other scams ask you to complete an online application that requests personal identifying information and bank account numbers that can be used for identity theft. In this instance, the applicant was asked to fill out a credit check.
Here are tips to avoid falling for fake job:
- Some positions are more likely to be scams: Use extra caution when looking at ads for jobs with generic titles, such as admin assistant or customer service representative. These often don’t require special training or licensing, so they appeal to a wide range of applicants.
- Watch out for these phrases: Scam ads often contain the phrases “Teleworking OK,” “Immediate Start” and “No Experience Needed.” Watch out for ads that urge you to apply immediately.
- If a job looks suspicious, search for it in Google. If the result comes up in many other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam.
- Be very cautious of any job that asks you to share personal information or hand over money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or paying for training.
- Check out the business’ website to make sure the opening is posted there. If you are still skeptical, call the business to check on the position. Don’t rely on websites or phone numbers provided in the advertisement; find the “employer” on your own to make sure it’s the real deal.
Keavney encourages applicants to visit Idaho Power’s “Careers” for legitimate listings at idahopower.com. If someone is the victim of a scam, he or she should file a police report and then contact the Attorney General’s office at 334-2424, or toll-free at 1-800-432-3545.