Before You Start Your Job Hunt, Learn the Difference Between the Real Cruise Ship Jobs and the Scams: Internet ScamBusters #258
Today's issue is about cruise ship job scams. Even if you're not in the job market or have no interest in these kinds of jobs, we suggest you skim this issue anyway -- because you might be able to help someone else and because many of the principles are the same as other kinds of scams.
It's a job that seems like a vacation: cruise ship jobs can whisk you away to Alaska, the Caribbean, the Greek Islands or any one of the world's most exotic places. And you'll earn money while going there!
But be careful. Scam artists who know the allure of cruise ship jobs have found ways to make money off of unwitting job seekers by promising them positions that don't actually exist.
Industry veteran Neil Maxwell-Keys has worked two years aboard cruise ships and spent the last eight years operating a website, www.workoncruiseships.com, that helps people to get real cruise ship jobs. This week he tells us how to spot cruise ship job scams and what a real job service looks like.
On to today's main topic...
False Tips Sink Ships: How To Steer Clear of the Cruise Ship Jobs Scams
For many young people, job options can seem pretty limited -- wait tables, clerk a gift store, work construction. Or you could travel five countries in 12 days working aboard a luxury cruise ship.
"Working on a cruise ship is one of the most desirable jobs for a young person who wants to get away and travel the world," said Maxwell-Keys.
It's so attractive, he said, desperate job seekers can easily be led into a cruise ship job scam.
1. The Fake Cruise Ship Agent
Many people are introduced to cruise ship jobs through Internet websites or newspaper ads. Though the ads are for jobs, once you contact the company, it turns out to be only a headhunting service.
And not always a real one at that.
The scam artists advertise "guaranteed" jobs or leads to jobs in exchange for a fee. You pay the fee, but the job never materializes.
Beware of false promises. No one but a cruise ship company itself can guarantee a job, Maxwell-Keyes said. And it obviously doesn't make sense to offer someone a job before their qualifications are known.
In a variation of the scam, the agent keeps the job applicant thinking a job is on the way. He collects additional fees, such as a uniform deposit or a training deposit, until eventually the "agent" disappears.
"Your first clue is when they ask for a fee," said Maxwell-Keys. "Most cruise lines don't like dealing with any agency that charges [the job applicant] a fee because the agency is already getting paid by the cruise line."
There are legitimate cruise ship concessionaires and agents who work to provide people to the cruise lines, according to Maxwell-Keys. But these people only get paid once an applicant is successful getting a job on a cruise ship.
Sometimes uniform fees can be taken out of a person's first paycheck, but it's unlikely such a fee would be legitimately asked for up front.
"By the time a person is being seriously considered for a job, a three-way relationship should exist between the job applicant, cruise line and agent," said Maxwell-Keys. By then, the cruise line will be talking to you about many other details like what it's like to live on board and out at sea.
2. The Fake Cruise Ship Application
In another bid for your job search dollar, advertisers claim to sell you an official cruise ship application form for $49, $59 or even $99.
These applications are worthless, Maxwell-Keys said.
"There's no such thing as an official cruise ship application form any more than an official form for the automobile industry or retail industry," he said. Each company has their own. Carnival Cruise Lines does not have the same form as Holland America Line.
The only way to get a real cruise ship's application form is through the company directly.
3. The Green Card Scam
One high dollar cruise ship scam comes out of Malaysia. In it, scam artists, on very official looking letterhead, offer you a job on a cruise ship and ask you to send $500 to $1,000 for an immigration processing fee or foreign workers permit.
When you bank transfer the money, you are told the deadline has passed -- please Western Union a second payment immediately to secure the job.
After that money is sent, you are asked to send another $1,000 for a drug screening fee.
At some point the company stops responding to your phone calls and emails, and you are out the money and have no job.
"Nearly every scam like this has come outside of United States, United Kingdom and Australian jurisdiction," said Maxwell-Keys. "I've even heard of people being charged for flights to interviews that didn't exist."
Again, beware of any request for money before you have a job and are in contact with the cruise ship company itself. Such requests are most likely a scam.
Western Union advises against using money transfers when doing business with strangers or someone you cannot absolutely verify.
Legitimate sites for cruise ship agents will look professional, post a contact phone number and email address, and should have a reputation you can verify with consumer organizations, said Maxwell-Keys.
Finally, websites that produce real jobs often charge a nominal membership fee for up-to-date information and recruiting service. Don't get fooled by these three cruise ship job scams.
Time to close. We wish all our US subscribers a very Happy Thanksgiving, and we'll see you next week.