AUSTIN (KXAN) - The holiday shopping season will be in full swing soon, and businesses -- especially retailers -- have been looking for help.
Consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts that retailers could hire as many as 600,000 workers this season. That's up more than 20 percent from 2009.
But despite the extra hiring, there is no shortage of applicants. Some scam artists see an opportunity to make money off the hunger for holiday jobs.
A lot of times, job seekers can apply for work online. But beware if the business asks an applicant to pay to submit an application or to get a background check.
"Generally, only scams are going to ask you for any kind of money up front," said Erin Dufner of the Austin Better Business Bureau . "For a background check, if you're going to be handling any money, those are things that really should be provided by the employer in order to assure they're picking the right person for the job."
The BBB has a few warnings for job hunters:
- Beware of direct links sent to an e-mail inbox or on Facebook, Twitter, etc. They could be phishing attempts which could lead to viruses or malware which could put a job seeker at risk of identity theft.
- Consumers should be suspicious of "too good to be true" job offers promising high pay for a low amount of work.
- Be wary of Work-at-Home schemes.
"BBB has been researching work-at-home companies that promise big money, things that sound too good to be true, and certainly ask for up-front money," Dufner said, adding that the fees are usually said to cover the cost of sending items to be assembled.
"Generally, BBB finds those to be out-and-out scams," Dufner warned of the work-at-home companies.
Many job-seekers use websites like Craigslist to search for local jobs. But job seekers should be careful what information they give when applying.
"Never include Social Security numbers, never include driver license numbers," Dufner warned. "That information certainly has an opportunity to get into the wrong hands."
Dufner said it's really about using one's best judgment, and understanding who a job seeker is doing business with.
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