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Better Business Bureau investigation finds job scam reports on the rise in first three months of 2023

In the first three months of 2023, Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker received reported job scam losses of nearly $840 thousand, up 250% compared to the same time last year.

“As more people search for remote opportunities,” said BBB President Judy Dollison, “scammers are looking to cash in.”

A 2021 BBB study update, Employment Scams: Reports of job scams skyrocket in 2023, examines patterns of reports, reviews dollars lost and interviews affected job seekers to protect the public through education.

(Click for larger infographic)

Key findings:

• Early figures for 2023 show job scam reports nearly tripled compared to the same period last year.

• $840,000 in losses during the first three months of 2023, which is more than the first nine months of 2022.

• Median loss of over $1,500 during the first quarter of 2023. Some job seekers’ monetary losses totaled tens of thousands of dollars.

• Job fraud is the most common type of scam for those ages 18-34.

• Since 2020, over 700 Scam Tracker reports referenced Indeed, 288 LinkedIn and 250 Telegram as their first point of contact with fraudsters.

• “Reshipping scams” where fraudsters trick consumers into buying and shipping expensive electronics appear to be one of the most common job scam types.

Statistics (reported to BBB, FTC and CAFC about employment scams):

• 12,925 BBB Scam Tracker reports with $4.77 million in losses (2020-March 2023)

• 282,061 reports to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network with $845.1 million in losses (2020-March 2023)

• 11,435 reports to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre with 22.2 million Canadian dollars in losses (2020-March 2023)
Details about how these scams work are in the included one-page infographic.

BBB has examined employment scams in-depth since 2021. But scammers continue to change their tactics to trick job seekers. In some of the most extreme cases, some people found themselves out tens of thousands of dollars.

Two local central Ohio victims, Jimmy and Crystal, both believed they were sending money through Zelle to a new employer to purchase home office supplies and would be reimbursed by check by the company. The scams were standard pattern: the victims received a check from the ‘company’ in the correct amount, the check bounced, and the victims were obligated to pay the missing funds back to the bank. Those two scams alone total nearly $1500 in losses.

Donald from Lake Placid, Florida told BBB in an interview that he lost over $100,000 as part of a reshipping scam. Like many others, he was convinced to purchase computers and ship them overseas with the promise of reimbursement. Once the items were sent, the fraudsters disappeared. He remains buried under the debt accrued from the scam.

In San Francisco, California, Michelle’s experience with scammers ended with threats to her family. After accepting what she thought was an administrative position, the fraudsters convinced her she needed to purchase a home office setup. When her “bosses” began asking for gift cards instead of cash for the office equipment, she became suspicious and questioned them. The scammers started calling at all hours of the night, threatening her family if she didn’t comply. In the end, they stole over $150,000, draining her life’s savings.

Tips for job seekers:

• Research companies offering jobs at BBB.org.

• Find a number on the business’ website and call to confirm the job or offer is real.

• Check the email address to ensure that it is connected to the company and not a personal “gmail” or “yahoo” address.

• Be cautious providing personal information to unverified recruiters and online applications.

• Don’t pay for a job.

Better Business Bureau

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