I-Team: Help teens avoid summer job scams with these tips

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Doing your homework can help parents and teens avoid the headaches of summer job scams.

As the temperatures heat up, so does the market for summer jobs.

The ABC11 I-Team is helping parents and teenagers do their homework when it comes to finding jobs with reputable companies in a safe work environment.

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The I-Team recently obtained a flier recruiting teenagers for an organization that has no record of any youth-work permits - something required by North Carolina law.

Click here to learn more about youth-work permits and to fill out an application
Click here for rules and regulations governing youth work permits and jobs

"You obviously don't want teenagers or kids putting their hands in certain situations or being in an unsafe environment that is generally reserved for an adult worker," Jason Tyson, a spokesman for the NC Department of Labor, told ABC11. "There has to be some checks and balances."

The flier, posted by the Carolina Youth Club, offers part-time jobs for teens ages 13-16 and promises "Free transportation, earn cash every week, free trips, activities and cool prizes."

Tyson immediately pointed out that the Club is already breaking the law by recruiting 13-year-olds, as youth-work permits may only be obtained by those ages 14-18.

Click here to file a safety complaint about a NC employer
Click here to file a complaint about lost wages at a NC employer

"There are exceptions - it has to be your parent's business, maybe a movie industry, movie theater, but generally under 14 we don't cover that," Tyson added.

More than 75,000 teenagers applied for and received youth-work permits in 2016, and state officials say the number has been growing every year. The bulk of those permits are for summer jobs.

North Carolina law requires teenagers to obtain the permit only when they get the job offer. They then fill out an application online, print the finished certificate, then have their parents and employer sign the certificate as well. The employer then keeps the file on record.

Click here to contact the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina

With more than 277,000 employers registered in North Carolina, it's impossible for the state to verify all pending offers and regulate employers hiring teenagers.

Tyson said that's where parents can do some homework.

"Most parents have probably been in the workforce at some point, if they're not in the workforce now," Tyson said. "They should be able to vet these companies that are hiring their children. Look up the company on the Secretary of State's website or call the Better Business Bureau."

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