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Postal ad pulled; content fraudulent

"Government and postal jobs ... now hiring up to $47,578. Full- and part-time positions. Benefits and training for applications call 1-800-573-8555."

This ad, which has been in The South Whidbey Record recently, will not be showing up again in the future. Due to several complaints from readers -- who did not wish to be identified -- the ad, which this week was shown to be misleading, has been pulled from the newspaper's classified advertising section.

Job seekers may see this ad or one similar to it in other local newspapers, but postal inspectors warn consumers that calling the phone numbers they list may be costly.

Callers responding to the above ad were promised a "200-page booklet with 11 sample postal test exams and a registration card" for $69. The first two questions callers are asked are, "Do you have high school diploma?" and, "Do you have credit?"

The problem with all of this is that the ad may be promising jobs that are not available, and those offering the job application booklets are selling something anyone can get for free through the U.S. Postal Service.

This week, Seattle postal inspector Jeff Scobba called ads like this a scam.

"We will send those interested in jobs a sample test for free," he said.

Scobba said having good credit is not necessary when applying for a job with the Postal Service, nor is having a high school diploma.

"The main requirement is U.S. citizenship," he said.

Scobba said the ad is particularly misleading because there simply aren't any postal jobs available in Washington state.

"In fact, we are encouraging clerks to take early retirement at this time. We just aren't hiring."

Scobba said these ads are nothing new. Postal inspectors regularly send cease and desist letters to the individuals or businesses placing the ads instructing them to discontinue the ads. If the advertisers use their ads to commit credit card fraud the enforcement can get more serious.

"If we discovered they were illegally using credit card numbers, it would be a a criminal matter," Scobba said.

Some promoters advertise that they can guarantee job placement with the U.S. Postal Service. Scobba warns that such guarantees are false.

People serious about working for the Postal Service must pass a civil service exam.

"Civil service tests are given once a year. Dates and locations are posted prior to the date in local post offices," Scobba said.

Post office jobs are listed online at www.usps.com/employment.

Like most newspapers, The South Whidbey Record does not guarantee that the content of the advertisements it publishes is truthful and accurate.

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