You may have seen them online or in the classified section of your local newspaper - ads offering to help job seekers find Postal Service jobs ... for a fee, of course.
Here's the thing: There's no trick to finding those Postal Service jobs ... for free.
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"When it comes to federal and postal jobs, the word to remember is free," the Federal Trade Commission says in an alert to consumers. "Information about job openings with the U.S. government or U.S. Postal Service is free and available to everyone. Applying for a federal or postal job also is free."
How the Scams Work
Some examples of those bogus agencies are the "U.S. Agency for Career Advancement" and the "Postal Employment Service," according to the FTC.
One popular scam is conducted by con artists who lure job seekers into responding to ads placed in local newspapers. They inform the job seekers there are openings locally and that they qualify, but that they need to pay for study materials to get a high school on the postal exam.
The FTC says such claims are ridiculous.
"The company isn't part of the U.S. Postal Service, the materials may be worthless, and a passing score on a postal exam does not assure you'll get a postal job. There may not even be an available job in your area," the FTC says.
How to Spot Scams
Here are a few tip-offs to Postal Service job rip-offs from the government:
- Classified ads, online ads or telephone sales pitches that imply an affiliation with the federal government, guarantee high test scores or state that "no experience is necessary;"
- Ads that offer information about "hidden" or unadvertised federal jobs;
- Ads that refer you to a toll-free phone number; Often, in these cases, an operator encourages you to buy a "valuable" booklet of job listings, practice test questions and tips for entrance exams.
- Toll-free numbers that direct you to other pay-per-call numbers (such as 900 numbers) for more information. Under federal law, any solicitations for pay-per-call numbers must include full disclosures about the cost of the call.
How to Find a Postal Service Job on Your Own
The federal government makes it very easy to find Postal Service Jobs.
To look for Postal Service jobs go online to www.usps.com/employment. The site will tell you where the Postal Service is hiring, as well as whether you need to take an exam. Even you do need to take a test, the agency typically offers sample questions to people who sign up for the exam.
Best of all, it's free.