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BBB sees uptick in employment scams as unemployment numbers remain high

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IDAHO FALLS – As businesses remain closed because of COVID-19, Idaho’s unemployment rate continues to rise, with more than 30,000 people in Idaho needing benefits weekly. For many people, the uncertainty of their long-term employment status and a decrease in income has them looking for ways to make money working from home.

Ads you may see offer a variety of work-at-home jobs – internet businesses, shipping or mailing work, selling goods and more. But many of these “jobs” are scams, aimed at getting your money and information, and won’t deliver on the claims they make.

Here’s one way Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific has seen this play out: Someone sees a help-wanted ad online or receives an email or text message from an “employer,” asking them to apply for a position. The person receives a little more information about the position via a limited exchange. Having accepted what appears to be an excellent opportunity, they provide personal and banking information. This is where it often goes south. After this, if the job is a scam, all communication is shut off, and this unsuspecting person just gave an untrustworthy entity private information.

This podcast was originally published in 2018.

So, what is the best way to avoid falling into this trap?

Some positions are more likely to be leveraged for scams than others. Be wary of secret shopper positions or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant or customer service representative. Positions that don’t require specialized training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads.

If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company’s job page to see if the job is posted there. Also, take research efforts one step further and look online to see if the same job is coming up in other cities. If it is, it is likely a scam.

Different hiring or onboarding procedures should raise your suspicion. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. An HR representative from a real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring.

Also, don’t fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or high income as long as you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories.

If you are looking for a job, you are not alone, but take the time to find a legitimate fit. Better Business Bureau also encourages you to report possible scams to the BBB Scam Tracker here.

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