In a report released Wednesday, the Better Business Bureau said the number of scams is on the rise.
While there are many ways scammers try to get your money, according to this new report, employment scams are now the most risky.
Michelle Bradley fell victim to one of these scams while looking through a local Facebook group.
“I commented on the post that they made, they sent me a link,” Bradley explained.
The post was for a work from home job testing products. The company would send her products in the mail, she would try them out, and then she would give a review. The post claimed the job would pay her roughly $30 for each review she did. She followed the link to look at the website.
“It brought me to what seemed like a fairly believable website,” Bradley said. “It had information on a lot of different products”
She then began to fill out the job application, giving out her name, address and work history. Not long after, she got an email from the company saying she was accepted, and needed to sign up to get paid.
“That’s when it wanted more information from me, it needed bank account information,” Bradley said. “I thought in my head ‘well, I can’t get paid unless they have my routing number and stuff.'”
But in less than 10 minutes, she started receiving notifications from the bank. Scammers were trying to withdraw $900 from her account.
“If they just get a couple of people to fall for this, they’ve made money,” said Tim Maniscalo with the Better Business Bureau. “A lot of times they’re work from home schemes where (people think) ‘hey, I can work at home and make a pretty good amount of money.’”
The BBB says these scams use names of big companies like Amazon or Google to make it seem legit. Maniscalo believes the hype over Amazon’s new headquarters and new jobs made this scam more likely to work.
“People were trying to make them believe that they represented Amazon,” Maniscalo said. “So the employment scam really took a leap this year.”
The BBB recommends you only apply to jobs through the company’s official website. It’s also smart to google a company and make sure it is legitimate, instead of just relying on a link.
“Do a little bit of homework,” Maniscalo said. “You can check things out usually pretty quickly on the web and figure out ‘hey, is this something that’s legitimate or is this someone trying to scam me and get my money.”
After she realized it was a scam, that’s exactly what Bradley did. While she thought it was a simple job application, her searches after came up empty. The whole scamming process happened before her eyes.
“I was never able to find anything else other than that link,” Bradley said. “Once I got off of that link, I couldn’t go back and re-find it again.”
Luckily for Bradley, her bank was able to block the transaction from going through. However, Maniscalo says many times the money is lost for good.
“If you fall for this scam and you send them some money, I can guarantee you that that money almost immediately leaves the country, and it’s almost impossible to get it back,” he said.