Since many major U.S. retailers have already announced their seasonal hiring plans, BBB urges all holiday job seekers to begin their research now.
Holiday hires help run stores, stock new inventory, manage distribution centers and serve as customer service representatives. The jobs currently appearing online are just the first of many offers that will be available throughout this holiday season.
Unfortunately, scammers also pretend to hire employees during the holidays. Every year, con artists jump on the demand for seasonal employment by posting fraudulent jobs. These scammers lure applicants in with promises of earning unrealistically high wages by doing simple tasks. The jobs may claim that no experience is required or that you can work from the comfort of your own home.
If a job description seems “too good to be true,” it just might be. BBB has some red flags to look for if you’re wondering if a seasonal job opportunity may be a scam:
- Big bucks for simple tasks. Be wary if there is a promise to pay a lot of money for jobs that don’t require much effort or skill.
- Job offers out of nowhere from strangers. If they offer you a job without getting an application from you, meeting you, or doing an interview, it’s probably a scam. Don’t hand over your personal information, especially your Social Security Number or credit card information to such people. This could lead to identity theft.
- Requests for up-front payments. If someone wants you to make an advanced payment or buy materials to start working from home, this is a red flag. You should not have to pay money to start a job.
- You are asked to wire money. If you wire a payment to somebody, it’s gone forever. Scam artists will often ask you to wire payments (especially to destinations in other countries) because they know you won’t be able to get your money back.
- High pressure to commit now. Don’t be in a hurry to accept an unsolicited offer, or to make a business investment, particularly if the other party is pressuring you to commit and spend money now. Take your time and research the business. If somebody tries to convince you that this is a “limited time” offer and you have to act now, just tell them to forget it.
- Refusal to give you full details in writing. Ask for complete information in writing. Look carefully at any documentation they might provide to make sure it answers all of your questions. If they won’t give details, or don’t respond to questions, don’t do business with them.
- References are missing or a bit suspicious. A real business should be able to give you professional references. Ask for references and check them out yourself. Even if the references seem positive, don’t let them be the only thing you base your decision on. Check out their Business Profile at bbb.org.
- There is no contact information. Be cautious if a company is trying to get you to accept a job, but does not have a physical location or address available. A cell phone number and website address are not enough to prove the business exists.
- If you are interested in a holiday job, here are a few steps you can take to help increase your chances:
- Start your research earlier rather than later. Figure out which jobs will be right for you and then identify companies you’d be happy working for. Apply directly through the company website as opposed to a third party website.
- Work where you shop. Employers want applicants who know their products well. If you shop at certain stores frequently, chances are you know about the company and the merchandise they sell. This will make you an attractive choice because they won’t have to spend as much time and money training you.
- Be available and flexible. Holiday hiring managers are drawn to candidates who will be available and have a flexible schedule. Seasonal employees will likely find themselves working long, sometimes inconvenient hours and even holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Put your best foot forward. Dress for the job you want and be prepared for the interview. Be familiar with the company’s brand and products. You should be able to answer why you’d like to work with this company. Retail job hunters should focus on impressing potential employers with their customer service skills and ability to handle crowded stores with stressed-out holiday shoppers.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.
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