Better Business Bureau says employment scams hitting hard
From The Better Business Bureau:
A new study released by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) finds nearly three-quarters of those who lose money to employment scams are already in financial crisis. Additionally, at least 53% reported being unemployed at the time they were scammed.
Employment scams were the #1 Riskiest Scam in 2018 and also 2019, according to the BBB Risk Index, which measures exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss based on reports to BBB Scam Tracker. By late March 2020, COVID-19 was causing millions to lose their jobs or be laid off, and these people began seeking work elsewhere, especially via online platforms.
In response to the pandemic, BBB launched a new research project to better understand how employment scams are being perpetrated and the fallout from the scams.
“The research discovered more than half of scam targets were seeking work-from-home opportunities,” said Melisa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, that produced the report. Work-from-home scammers crawled out of the woodwork in huge numbers.
The Employment Scams Report examines findings from an April 2020 survey of 10,670 U.S. and Canadian consumers reporting employment scams to BBB Scam Tracker. One surprising finding is that 65% percent of consumers reported their “job offer” was related to becoming a “warehouse redistribution coordinator” or some similar title involving the reshipment of packages (often involving 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.
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 the military-related reported losing significantly more money to employment scams than other categories.
“Ripping off anyone is reprehensible, but scamming those selflessly serving our nation is particularly repugnant,” said Barry N. Moore, President of the BBB serving Central Virginia, and also a military veteran.
Survey results reinforced that consumer education is a critical component of fighting back against these scammers. Those who avoided losing money were much more likely to report previous knowledge of employment scams and tactics (20% versus 7%).
For tips on how to avoid employment scams, visit BBB.org/EmploymentScams.
To report a scam, go to BBB.org/ScamTracker.
To learn more about other risky scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTips.
About the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust
The BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) is the charitable arm of the Better Business Bureau. Our mission is to educate and protect consumers, establish best practices for businesses, and solve complex marketplace problems. Our consumer educational programs, which include a wide array of resources on fraud prevention and education, are delivered digitally and in person by BBBs serving communities across North America. You can find more information about BBB Institute and its programs at BBBMarketplaceTrust.org.
About BBB: BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, scam warnings, consumer and business education, and charity review.