Scammers targeting holiday job seekers

Posted at 5:48 PM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 21:59:34-04

SAN DIEGO - Scammers are preying on San Diegans trying to earn a few extra bucks for the holidays, when competition for jobs stiffens.

When the holiday decorations go up at Warwick's in La Jolla, Pence Hodges and the rest of his team know what happens next.

"Around the holiday season, especially after Thanksgiving, this store is packed with people, and everybody's buying," he said.

Warwick's is going to need some help with the crowds in the coming weeks.

"We're looking for personable, smart, self-motivated people that can work in a retail environment during the holiday season," Hodges said.

However, the long-standing bookstore can only hire about 10 people this holiday season, and that leaves thousands of San Diegans to find work elsewhere.

As many look for jobs during the holidays, experts are warning of scammers who are looking for job seekers.

"Perpetrators tend to prey on our young adults, our students, our work-at-home moms, and retirees, so we do tend to see a little spike right before the holidays," said Cheryl Reichert, CEO of the Better Business Bureau.

Reichert said scammers create ads on sites like Craigslist, masquerading as legit job ads. Everything seems fine until the scammer asks for an application fee.

Another red flag -- asking for personal information like a Social Security number just for a chance at the gig.

Sniffing out the scam could be as simple as going outside.

"Make sure you have a good physical address, a good phone number and that you've vetted the company just like they're vetting you," Reichert said.

Reichert said to only give out key personal information like a Social Security number after accepting the job and making sure the company is real.