Every year the Better Business Bureau assesses the riskiest scams, determining which scam impacted the most people and cost them the most money. According to BBB's Rebecca Barr, employment scams were the riskiest scams in 2018.
"In previous years, these scams came in third, but this year had more instances and higher losses. This is the first time since BBB has done this report that these schemes were in the top. It was the riskiest scam in three of the six age groups, and for both men and women. It was also the riskiest scam for military families and veterans and students," Barr explained.
So why were employment scams so popular in 2018? Barr says one possible answer is because Amazon was in the news often, with its high profile search for a second headquarters.
"It was also the sixth most impersonated organization. Scammers are opportunists, so whatever is in the news or being talked about on social media, they see as an opening to imposter a recognizable and respected organization or brand," Barr said.
Barr adds that scammers try to lure people in by posting fake stay-at-home jobs, offering people a way to work for a huge company like Amazon from the comforts of their own home.
"This should be a red flag. Amazon, a BBB Accredited Business, has only one authorized job application site: amazon.jobs. So if you see any other way to apply, it is fake," Barr said.
If the employment scam gets far enough, scammers collect the same information that real employers do: address, birth date, Social Security number, and bank account--everything needed for identity theft.
For more resources to protect yourself and your information, visit www.bbb.org.