I don’t know if you’re going to believe this, but there are people actually trying to scam others who are looking to VOLUNTEER TO HELP the Gulf Oil Spill clean up process. I swear I say we hit a new low at least once a week. Is anyone out there keeping tally?

There are fake ads running trying to attract both volunteers and new employees with fake promises of guaranteed work. Scammers are claiming they need your personal information and that you need to pay them for certain training and certifications. They ask for fees upfront and just outright lie about being authorized by BP to find people to help clean up the spill.

You don’t need to pay to help clean up. You do have to go through a hiring process, but they PAY YOU!

The FTC has issued the following warnings…

Signs of a Scam

If you’re looking for a job or want to volunteer your services in the Gulf clean-up, here are some
red flags:

  • Guaranteed jobs or guaranteed placements. Regardless of how severe the situation – and how much you want to believe the promises – no legitimate company makes guarantees about placing anyone in a job.
  • An employer or employment-service firm that wants you to pay for training, certification, or its expenses placing you with a company. Legitimate employers and firms don’t ask you to pay them for the promise of a job. In fact, it’s against the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for employers to charge employees for training.
  • Vague offers. The more general the email “job” description, the less likely there is a valid job. If you see phrases like “We have thousands of jobs” or “We represent BP,” consider it a problem. Report it to the FTC. Send a copy of unwanted or deceptive messages to spam@uce.gov and then delete it. The FTC uses the unsolicited emails stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive spam email.
  • You’re asked for your financial information. No credible employer needs your bank account information or credit or debit account numbers to interview you or hire you. Scam artists can use this information to commit identity theft.
  • Companies that charge you for lists of available jobs. Some listing services and “consultants” write ads that sound like they have jobs waiting for you. But they’re selling information about how to find a job, and that’s generally available for free.

For Legitimate Opportunities in the Gulf

If you’re interested in getting involved with the clean-up, here are several sources for legitimate opportunities. Remember that some jobs do require special training, but stipends are available to cover those costs.

Deepwater Horizon Response – www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/site/2931/ 1-866-448-5816
BP – www.bp.com/GulfofMexicoResponse
Alabama – Environmental Cleanup – http://es.dir.alabama.gov/local/environment
Florida – www.myfloridalegal.com, the site of the Florida Attorney General, or www.doacs.state.fl.us, the state
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Louisiana – www.losco.state.la.us, the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, and www.laworks.net, the
Louisiana Workforce Commission
Mississippi – Mississippi Department of Employment Security – www.mdes.ms.gov or 1-800-224-1388

State Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re interested in volunteering, call the Deepwater Horizon Response Volunteer Request Line at 1-866-448-5816 or visit these state websites.

Alabama – www.servealabama.gov/2010/default.aspx
Florida – www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org
Louisiana – www.volunteerlouisiana.gov
Mississippi – www.volunteermississippi.org/1800Vol/OpenIndexAction.do

Read the full warning here.

If you see anyone running one of these scams, please take the time and REPORT IT! You can do so directly at http://www.ftc.gov/ or call 1-877-382-4357. The only way we can shut these guys down is by reporting it, so do your part!

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