Aug. 10—GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Better Business Bureau in Western Michigan is warning job seekers of a new type of employment scam.
Employment scams are one of the top three scams targeting consumers, according to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. It has been one of the riskiest for consumers for the past five years.
"Be wary when a company reaches out to you with a job offer without an interview, as it is likely a scam," Lisa Frohnapfel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Western Michigan, said in a provided news release. "Do more research about the company before accepting the offer. If the job requires little work for a lot of pay, walk away."
Recent complaints to the BBB Scam Tracker tell a similar story. Victims claim scammers are reaching out to job seekers looking for remote work on popular employment websites. Potential employees are contacted by text message, asked to watch a short video, then asked to send personal sensitive information for a background check, according to the release.
Victims are told they passed almost immediately and are hired on the spot. The job description consisted of receiving packages at home, checking the items for damage, then reshipping them.
Victims are offered thousands of dollars in salary, plus extra compensation for each package processed. But, once it is time to get paid, employees say communication is cut off, and they never receive the pay they are expecting.
BBB has received numerous complaints about this job scam since June. So far, each victim has lost personal identifiable information to the company, and did work for free, but did not lose any of their own money.
"In addition to losing your private information, people caught up in these reshipping jobs are often helping the scammers victimize others," Frohnapfel said. "The items received in these reshipping scams are usually purchased with stolen credit cards. These 'employees' become a middle-man to help get the stolen products to the scammers."
BBB recommends the following tips to avoid job scams:
—Be cautious of work-from-home jobs that involve receiving and reshipping packages are likely scams.
—Be wary of job offers that don't require an interview. Reputable companies prefer to talk to top job candidates before hiring them. If a job offer is presented without an interview — on the phone or in person — or is offered only via the internet, do a little more digging.
—Be wary of big money for small jobs. If an employer is promising outrageously good wages for what seems like simple tasks such as reshipping packages, stuffing envelopes, or answering phones, this is a red flag. These too-good-to-be-true offers are often an attempt to steal your personal information from a fake job application.
—Research the job offer. Call or go directly to the actual company's website for contact information to verify the job posting. Do an internet search with the name of the employer and the word "scam" to see if there are reports involving job scams.
—Check on businesses at BBB.org if they claim to be offering jobs.
—Examine the email address of those offering jobs to see if it matches the protocols used by an actual company. Be alert to gmail business email addresses.
—Be cautious in providing personal information such as your full address, birthdate and financial information in your resume or to unverified recruiters and online applications.
—Be wary of vague job descriptions.
Victims of job scams should report them to:
—Federal Trade Commission — reportfraud.ftc.gov or call 877-FTC-Help.
—Internet Crime Complaint Center — ic3.gov/complaint.
To learn more about employment scams visit https://www.bbb.org/article/tips/12261-bbb-tip-employment-scams.