From The World Journal
January 6, 2003
Job-hunting has always been a difficult task for new immigrants
in New York City. It has become even more so after the September
11 attacks. Experts say that job seekers have to be extra careful
about classified advertisements in the newspapers. If they are not,
they might end up wasting their time and money.
Many newly arrived Chinese immigrants rely heavily on classified
ads when it comes to job-hunting. However, some ill-intentioned
people put false ads in the newspapers to attract job seekers in
order to market products or scam people. Many of them use e-commerce,
direct marketing, false ads for modeling jobs, or school recruitment
ads to scam applicants.
Miss Fung from China is a victim of false job advertisement who
answered an ad from a modeling agency on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan.
She said she is in her 30s, and it is hard to compete with younger
people for regular jobs. So she decided to try her luck and answered
an ad that said, "Asian male and female models wanted. All
ages. $2,000 a day."
First, Fung was asked to pay $300 because the agents said they
needed to take a set of pictures of her. A few days later, she got
another call from the modeling agency saying that the pictures were
ready but the agency needed enlarged prints to show to other companies.
She was asked to pay another $200. At that point, she got suspicious
and said she had to think about it. That was when the owner of the
modeling agency started to yell at her. She decided to quit immediately.
Meanwhile, Fung said, there are many more victims, including Miss
Hua, who lost even more money. Hua paid more than $700 and never
got called back. She went to the company to get her money back but
was insulted by the people at the agency.
Frank Huang, who answered a job ad from a company on the Bowery
in Chinatown, was asked to pay $75 upfront but was kicked out when
he tried to ask for more details.
Chung Yung-chi, a lawyer, said it is difficult to identify whether
those acts by the modeling agency and other companies could be considered
scams. He recommended that all job seekers research more on the
background, registrations and owners of the companies that they
are applying to. Such information can be found on New York States
Department of State website at www.dos.state.ny.
Second, he recommended that no payment should be made in advance
and that all payment, if any, should be made with checks instead
of cash. Third, job seekers should avoid providing signatures and
should not provide too much personal information, particularly their
social security numbers. Chung also said that a job seeker should
be alert when going to job interviews.
In the event of a scam, job seekers can file lawsuits in Small
Claims Court to get their money back. However, this process is often
time-consuming and not effective. Job seekers can also report those
companies to the Better Business Bureau, and those complaints will
have an effect on the companies credibility.
Meanwhile, some victims are reporting scams to the police, but
officials at the 5th Precinct in Chinatown said that
such scams are considered civil disputes and are not handled by
the police unless victims were threatened, which would make it a
Chung also suggested that, to effectively stop those scams, all
victims unite and file a joint complaint to bring this problem to
the attention of the authorities.
Translated From Chinese by Larry Tung
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