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Tennessee Consumer Affairs offers Tips to Avoid Summer Job Scams

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance says If a Summer Job Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance - TDCINashville, TN – As the school year comes to a close, many students are searching for a way to earn money during summer break.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs is advising Tennesseans of all ages to be wary of job announcements that promise more than they can deliver.


“While quick, easy money sounds ideal for such temporary jobs, it is usually too good to be true,” said Tennessee Department of Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak.

“We’re urging students to proceed cautiously when responding to employment inquiries that make dubious claims and promise fast cash for little work,” stated McPeak.

TDCI shares the following tips on avoiding summer job scams:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If large salaries are being advertised to work from home with no experience and few details are offered about the job or company, that’s a red flag that a scammer could be at work.
  • Be wary of social media offers such as modeling or promoting a product if you’re asked for money upfront.
  • Avoid jobs that require you to reship packages that come to your home with the promise of getting paid after so many days. Many times victims pay their own money to reship these packages and then never get reimbursed.
  • A common job scam follows the storyline of an employer moving to the United States from another country who needs to hire an assistant to help prepare for the employer’s arrival. The ‘employer’ often claims they will send a check to cover the assistant’s salary and to purchase items for a specific online vendor. If you receive a similar story, especially if it is combined with other warning signs, walk away from the offer.
  • If you receive a check instructing you to cash it and then send a portion back to the hiring company, it is a scam. You can always check with your bank to ensure the authenticity of a check before depositing. If you receive a fake check, contact local law enforcement immediately. 
  • Be cautious of unsolicited job offers by email. Check the email address of the sender and hover over any links—but don’t click—to see what website the email is trying to direct you to. If the address or website don’t match up with the sender or company, it may be best to just delete the email.
  • If a job looks suspicious, search for it online. If the result comes up in other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam. Also, check the company’s address to make sure it matches up.
  • If the language used in the job advertisement is poor and full of grammatical errors, this could also be an indicator of a scam. 
  • Consumers can also check the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Scam Tracker for a listing of recently-reported employment scams in their local area.
  • Never offer personal identifying information before you know the company is legitimate.
  • Never offer your Social Security number, banking information or credit card information when applying for a job online.
  • Never pay money out of pocket for job duties, software or equipment needed to perform a job, or for errands that need to be run, especially if you’ve never met in person.
  • Don’t agree to a background check unless you have met the employer in person.

To report a job scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistance.gov or by phone at 877.382.4357.

For more consumer tips and resources, visit the TDCI Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer.


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