Unemployed workers falling victim to employment scams

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 1:42 AM EDT
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Scammers, they're everywhere -- on your computer, on your phone, online --- and since the pandemic, the Better Business Bureau says these thieves are not only targeting those who have money, but those seeking employment too.

"You are seeing an uptick of the employment scams now because of the coronavirus and so many people are now unemployed," explains Nichole Thomas, director of communications for BBB Northern Indiana.

One of those people afraid of unemployment is a Cassopolis woman who tells 16 News Now she caught a scammer in the act trying to scam her.

"I just could tell by the way that they were responding to things and presenting information to me that it seemed off," the woman says.

In addition, she says she was seeking job opportunities online when she came across a job post on a 'Niles Michigan Yard Sale' group on Facebook from a profile with the name Candy Hullinger.​

"She was really vague and really weird asking questions like 'oh, well it's strictly work from home. would you be okay with that?,'" the woman says.

It's a question that the BBB says is very common with unemployment scams, and one of the many ways to spot a scam such as: fake ads, on-the-spot job offers, upfront fees, and no confirmed job offer documentation.​

"This isn't your typical scam that wants your social security number so that they can steal your identity; They want your money. That's what these scammers are after," Thomas says.

And according to the BBB, scammers are also after those who are young and unemployed.​ BBB Scam Research shows more than half of people targeted by unemployment scams reported being unemployed at the time of the encounter.​

and those at the most risk, young people with little job experience seeking new job opportunities.​

"It is something that is very relevant right now as millions of people across the country lost their jobs in March and the economy is just starting to recover and you will continue to see that as more people are unemployed," Thomas says.

The BBB says if you encounter a scam of any type, you're encouraged to report it by going to their

, calling them directly, or by contacting local authorities.​