Employment Scams are Still Going Strong

The Better Business Bureau has released a report on employment scams that is well worth a read (it’s only about six pages long, not counting the title page and what would be the back cover if the report were printed). https://bbbfoundation.images.worldnow.com/library/d8707e47-c886-48ec-b143-7b3db2806658.pdf

There are some interesting findings in the report.

In 53% of cases where someone responded to a job offer that turned out to be fraudulent, the primary thing that attracted the victim was the promise of being able to work from home. This is nothing very new—I was writing about the scammy nature of online work-from-home offers ten years ago—but I have a feeling that fake job listings will increasingly promise working remotely as the pandemic continues in the U.S. Stay home full-time and get paid? I would want to take that action without a pandemic simply because I don’t like commuting. If I was looking, and if any of those jobs weren’t scams.

The age group most targeted by, and most likely to fall for, a fraudulent job posting is the 25-34 range. People in that age bracket are often looking for their first career-type job, and those with established careers still tend to change employers often. Additionally, a lot of them don’t (or barely) remember a time when the internet wasn’t just an everyday fact of life, the way the television was just there if you grew up in the ‘60s, ‘70s or ‘80s. They may not have developed an innate slight distrust of online offers yet, which is such a helpful scam-avoidance tool.

While younger people are more likely to be victims, the greatest monetary losses to these scams are incurred by people aged 45-54 and 65+. Women are more likely to encounter a fraudulent job listing online, but men are slightly more susceptible to becoming a victim. Unemployed persons account for over half of the encounters with job scams, which makes sense because they are more likely to be looking in the first place.

If you’re looking for work, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you must research every single company that puts an advertisement up. Make sure it’s a real employer offering a real job that pays real money. Never pay someone else in order to secure a position, and assume any listing with the words “work from home” is very, very likely fraudulent. There are exceptions, but they are few.

Finally, some online job postings involve processing payments from home—receiving large sums into your account, then transferring or wiring it to overseas accounts, or processing shipments—receiving electronic goods which are then “reshipped” to someone else. These jobs will compensate you, but they are actually part of an organized money laundering scheme, leaving you as one of the only verifiable, domestic, and easy-to-locate links in the chain. Victims of these scams can find themselves in legal trouble if law enforcement decides they “should have known” something was not right.