INDIANAPOLIS, Ind – As massive tech company layoffs and lean economic times have left many Americans eager to find new jobs, the federal trade commission is warning about a steady increase in business and job opportunity scams.
According to the FTC, the evolving “work from home” movement also contributed to Americans losing $367 million to such scams in 2022. That’s a 76% increase from 2021. In addition, the average victim of these scams lost about $2,000, compared to an average $650 loss for all other kinds of fraud.
Common job, scams, involve offers to start your own business or earn big money working from home. Others are pyramid, schemes that claim you can make big money by selling their products, as long as you recruit new participants.
Fraudulent work from home job offers typically involves a scammer posing as an employer. They work to get your personal and financial information before sending you a check, maybe for $4,000. They tell you to keep $1000 as a salary advance and ask used to send them the remaining 3000, supposedly for supplies and equipment. Unfortunately, there are no supplies, there is no job and you are $3,000 in debt once the bank realizes the check was fake.
To avoid such scams, the FTC warns that you should never have to pay to get a job. No honest employer will ever send you a check and tell you to buy supplies, gift cards, or other things and have you sent back once left over. That check with bounce and the bank will come after you for the money.
To avoid similar scams, the FTC offers these tips:
- Verify job openings before you apply. Visit the official website for the organization or company you’re applying for. Most include a “career opportunities” or “jobs” section.
- See what others are saying. Look up the name of the company along with words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” The results may include the experiences of others who’ve lost money.
- Don’t pay for the promise of a job. Legit employers will never ask you to pay to get a job. Anyone who does is a scammer.
- Never deposit a check from someone you don’t know. An honest employer will never send you a check and then tell you to send them part of the money. That’s a fake check scam.
- Do your own research. Don’t accept any job offer until you’ve checked it out. Scammers pretend to be both well-known and smaller companies, posting jobs on employment websites. So, reach out to the company directly using contact information you know is legit.
- Never bank on a “cleared” check. No honest employer will ever send you a check and then tell you to buy supplies, gift cards, or something else and send back whatever money is left. The check will bounce, and the bank will want you to repay the amount of the fake check.
Learn more at ftc.gov/JobScams. And, if you spot a scam, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.