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June 29, 2008

Scam Alert: Flight to nowhere

THE SCAM: Airfare reimbursement

HOW IT WORKS: If you're looking for a job, one in a far-off location might be appealing if the company will fly you elsewhere for an interview. But what if the would-be employer wants part of the airfare paid ahead of time? That's the approach used in one scam meant to lure job seekers tempted by an ad with a great-sounding position in an exotic place, such as on a cruise ship. When victims respond to the ad, they're asked to travel to an interview in another city, with the travel paid for by the employer. The employer then spins a story of how the job seeker must pay part of the airfare so that the employer isn't ripped off by someone looking to fly for free. Victims are told they'll be reimbursed. But after wiring their share of the flight's cost to the employment agency, the victims are left high and dry.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money

HOW TO BEAT IT: Investigate any employer touting a great job and an interview that requires a flight. If information on the company is sparse, it may be a warning sign. You should not pay anyone to employ you. If the company is willing to fly you elsewhere for an interview, they can fly an employee to where you are for the same purpose.

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