A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Employment scams hit those already in financial crisis, unable to cover monthly bills

A new study released by BBB finds that nearly three-quarters of those who lose money to employment scams are already in financial crisis, and do not have enough income to cover their monthly bills. In addition, more than half (53 percent) of people targeted by employment scams reported unemployed at the time of the encounter.

Employment scams were the No. 1 riskiest scam in 2018 and 2019 reported from Scamtracker.org. An estimated 14 million people have been exposed to employment scams, with more than $2 billion lost per year. More than half of scam targets were seeking work-from-home opportunities.

As more people search for flexible employment opportunities following the coronavirus outbreak, they need to know that scammers are out there in force and targeting those most in need.

One surprising finding is that 65 percent of more than 10,000 consumers reported their “job offer” was related to becoming a “warehouse redistribution coordinator” or some similar titles involving the reshipment of packages (which often involve stolen goods). In many cases, these scammers impersonated well-known retailers like Amazon and Walmart to seem legitimate, posting jobs on major online employment platforms with few prerequisites or requirements.

The report also highlights those who are most at risk for employment scams. Students and individuals ages 25-34 were more susceptible and likely to be victimized, while those ages 45-54 and 65+ reported higher median dollar losses. In addition, military spouses and veterans were more likely to fall victim than non-military consumers and reported losing significantly more money to employment scams.

Reminders on how to spot employment scams:

-Some positions are more likely to be scams. Be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service rep.

-Different procedures should raise your suspicion. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers without prior interviews. Also, no legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere.

-Government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely. The federal government and postal services never charge for information about jobs or job applications.

To report a scam, visit Scamtracker.org. To learn more about other risky scams, visit BBB.org/ScamTips.

From BBB

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