It’s a new year, a clean slate and there are nothing but possibilities on the horizon!  Over here at Bourke Accounting, we’re hard at work preparing for tax season and looking forward to the wild slide to April 15th.  Although we were very lucky to have weathered the lockdown, we know that not everyone out there has been as lucky.  The sad truth is that a lot of people will be starting 2021 unemployed.

For example, Yelp reported that 163,735 of the businesses listed on their site that were open in April had closed by September 2020; that sobering number averages out to more than 800 closures per day (King5.com).  Closer to home, more than 40 bars and restaurants have closed permanently in Louisville as of the beginning of December (BizJournals.com).  While change is good for the soul, repossessed cars are not.  With the pandemic still raging and unemployment benefits flickering, many have been forced to pound the pavement in search of brand-new jobs.

Is there anything worse than the job-hunting process?  Fine-tuning a resume, endless applications and job sites and then, perhaps the worst part, the interviews.  Oh, yes, grinning like a deranged June Cleaver, feigning excitement over the less-than-ideal payrate/hours/job, waiting for a response…job-hunting is excruciating.

Not to be more of a Debbie Downer than necessary, but those are not the only terrors involved in replacing a lost job.  Now, jobseekers must also be ever vigilant to protect themselves against scammers.  Although moral-deficient, shady opportunists with have always walked among us, it is clear that they have kept up with technology and are now capable of doing more damage than ever before. So, if you’re among the temporarily work-less, please know that there are a few things to keep in mind.

Old cliched concepts are generally based in fact.  For example, if something sounds too good to be true, we know that it’s time to get that guard up.  This is obvious when looking for work.  If you’re offered an at-home, part-time job at a high, full-time salary, you have to ask yourself why.  No matter how special you are, ten pages of data entry doesn’t equal $800 per week.  It’s important to be honest with yourself and question why a stranger is willing to pay way over the market rate.

Another thing to be wary of is any “recruiter” who asks for your bank information, credit report or social security number to complete the application process.  Unless you are joining something like the military or an accounting firm (CreditCards.com), no one needs to see your credit report.  In addition, until you’re hired and filling out direct deposit forms, no one (legitimate) needs your financial information.

And perhaps #1 of the Scammers’ Greatest Hits, right up there with the Nigerian Prince, is the entrepreneur who is out of the country and looking for a personal assistant.  This guy will send you a check for your pay and various supplies.  Oops, the check was accidently written for more than it should have been.  You deposit it, buy the supplies, keep your pay and wire the extra back.  Except the check will bounce, you will owe your bank and you just paid for a very expensive lesson.

If you’re looking for work right now, don’t let your eagerness to be productive put you in harm’s way.  There is no such thing as easy, legal money and you might just fund a scammer’s new car if you let yourself believe that there is!

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, it could take a while to get back on track.  Bourke Accounting tax preparers and bookkeepers can offer advice on how to make your journey a little easier.  As always, your Bourke Accounting expert will listen with a sympathetic ear and absolutely no judgement.  At Bourke Accounting, your well-being and success are always the priorities.

Come see us any time.  Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com.  See you soon!

Written by Sue H.