BBB Investigation: Job scam reports on the rise in 2023

From the Better Business Bureau:

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

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 more than $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, more than 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)

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 thousands of dollars.

Kierany Ferguson from North Carolina told BBB that she lost $2,160 as part of a reshipping scam. Like many others, she was convinced to receive packages, put new labels on the packages and then reship them. Once the items were sent, the fraudsters disappeared.

Another NC consumer, Chris Lowery, said he was contacted via text message regarding a wellness consultant position with a company named Northstar Inspired. This company took $290 from Chris in exchange for an outdated fitness study guide and a bogus exam.

BBB 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.

Visit BBB.org to check out a business or register a complaint, BBB Scam Tracker to report a scam and bbb.org/scamstudies for more on this and other scams.