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Scam Alert: BBB Says Phone Calls Offering Phony Amazon Jobs Are On the Rise

Amazon job scams
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Only three things are certain in this life: death, taxes and scammers who just won’t quit.

The Better Business Bureau put out a warning in August that job scams claiming to be from Amazon were on the rise — and they don’t seem to be slowing down.

According to BBB national spokesperson Katherine Hutt, there were only 24 employment scam reports mentioning Amazon made to the BBB Scam Tracker in 2017.

But so far in 2018, the BBB has received 361 reports mentioning the retail giant. That is a whopping 1,404% increase — and we’re just now getting into October!

Here’s how the scam works. You get a voicemail inviting you to apply for a job at Amazon. It sounds like a pretty sweet set-up: You can earn anywhere from $20 per hour to $6,000 per month and you get to work from home! Usually, fictitious names such as “Amazon Cash Website,” “StockRetail.com” or “WebStoreJobs” get mentioned in the spiel.

But here’s the catch: When you go fill out the online application, you’re asked to purchase a $200 “enrollment kit.” Once you make the payment, poof! The scammer is gone, along with your money and your dream of remote work life.

A pro tip: Any job that asks for some sort of upfront payment should set off warning bells.

Employment scams are particularly prevalent because they aim to take advantage of people in a vulnerable situation, Hutt said. Plus, it’s not usually too suspicious to ask for personal information that you would normally put on a job application.

The median loss for those who fell victim to employment scams in 2017 was $800, Hutt said. Employment-related scams were also the riskiest of the year for adults age 25-34 — that’s right, it’s not just the older generations that fall for scams.

Amazon has been all over the news lately, thanks to the search for a new HQ, seasonal hiring and the recent announcement to bump its minimum wage up to $15 per hour.

“Scammers are opportunists,” Hutt said in an email. “And all this media coverage of Amazon makes the company an attractive target for scammers who pretend to be hiring for the company.”

If you’re worried about falling for a job scam, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Here are four questions you can ask yourself when determining whether or not a work-from-home job is legit,. And check out this post that walks you through a real-life work-from-home scam email, so you can know what to look for.

If you think you might’ve already fallen for an employment scam, don’t panic. Follow these steps to help limit the damage, and be sure to report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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