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From the Better Business Bureau - Scam Alert: Phony Amazon Job Asks Applicants to Pay Upfront
By Guest Columnist Kelvin Collins

MACON - It sounds like the perfect job: work at home, make thousands of dollars a month, and have a career with famous corporation. But this new twist on an employment scam is fooling victims into paying hundreds of dollars for a job at Amazon that doesn’t exist. Reports to BBB Scam Tracker about this con have increased steadily this summer.

How does this scam work? You receive a voicemail or email message inviting you to apply for a job at Amazon. Allegedly, the online retailer is hiring dozens of people to list products online, post reviews, and do other website work. The position pays well – targets report anything from $20/hour to $6,000/month – and you can work from home. Scammers use the names Amazon Cash Website(s), StockRetail.com, and WebStoreJobs.com.

You are excited about the opportunity, so you fill out an application online. But there’s a problem! According to BBB Scam Tracker reports, new employees have to purchase a $200 “enrollment kit” before they can start work. If you pay up, the scammer will vanish. You will be out the money, and the new job never materializes.

How to spot a job scam:

• Be 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 the business's website. Scammers frequently post jobs using the names of real companies such as Amazon to lend legitimacy to their cons. Check on the business's website for the position and/or call to confirm.
• Work at home at your own pace. Always be wary of work from home opportunities that are riddled with testimonials. Often the suggestion of real success is misleading. Suggesting that few hours and limited work will make one successful is a red flag.
• 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.
• Different 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. Don't fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or big income as long as you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories.
• Government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely. The federal government and the U.S. Postal Service never charge for information about jobs or applications for jobs. Be wary of any offer to give you special access or guarantee you a job for a fee – if you are paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam.
• Get all details and contracts in writing. A legitimate recruiter will provide you with a complete contract for their services with cost, what you get, who pays (you or the employer), and what happens if you do not find a job. Finding a new job can be stressful but don’t allow a scammer to prey upon that stress to line their own pockets. For more information on employment scams, visit BBB/org.

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Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia & the CSRA, Inc. serving 41 counties in Central Georgia and the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: www.BBB.org or E-mail: info@centralgeorgia.bbb.org or info@csra.bbb.org.

Submitted 9.4.18
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