Cybersecurity Awareness Month: BBB Warns of Rising Online Job Scams

Employment scams have surged by 250% in the first quarter of 2023, according to a recent BBB investigation.

As October marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is raising the alarm about the increasing prevalence of online job scams. A recent investigation conducted by the BBB revealed a staggering 250% rise in employment scams during the first three months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. The report also highlighted that victims reported losses totaling approximately $840,000 between January and March. These alarming statistics serve as a stark reminder of the need for heightened vigilance when seeking employment opportunities online.

A Cleveland Woman’s Close Call with an Online Job Scam

Samia Green, a resident of Cleveland, recently shared her harrowing experience with an online job scam. After visiting various job websites, Green received a text message from a company offering her a work-from-home data entry position with a lucrative hourly rate of $30. Intrigued, she engaged in further communication with a man named John Smith, who claimed to be a representative of the company.

Green’s encounter took a sinister turn when Smith informed her that she would receive a check worth $4,950 in the mail to purchase necessary equipment for the job. Trusting the legitimacy of the offer, Green deposited the check into her bank account. However, as she began questioning Smith about the need to send the money elsewhere, her suspicions were aroused.

Realizing that something was amiss, Green contacted the Better Business Bureau for guidance and support. The BBB promptly informed her that depositing a counterfeit check into her account could potentially make her liable for repayment. Fortunately, Green’s bank confirmed that the check was fraudulent, sparing her from financial loss.

The BBB’s Insight on the Rising Job Scam Trend

Ericka Dilworth, the director of operations at the Better Business Bureau in Cleveland, shed light on the growing concerns surrounding job scams. Dilworth emphasized the importance of exercising caution when interacting with unknown entities online. She advised against clicking on links from unfamiliar sources via email or text and encouraged individuals to verify the legitimacy of job offers by contacting the respective companies directly.

The BBB’s recommendations include conducting thorough research on potential employers, scrutinizing job descriptions for red flags, and reaching out to the company’s official contact information to confirm the hiring process. Dilworth stressed that awareness and skepticism are vital in protecting oneself from falling victim to online job scams.

Green’s Message of Vigilance

Although Green was fortunate enough to avoid financial loss, she felt compelled to share her story as a cautionary tale for others. She implores individuals to remain vigilant and exercise caution when navigating the online job market. Green’s experience serves as a stark reminder that scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods, making it crucial for job seekers to be proactive in safeguarding their personal and financial information.

The rise in online job scams is a concerning trend that demands immediate attention. As the Better Business Bureau warns of a 250% increase in employment scams, it is essential for individuals to remain vigilant and adopt proactive measures to protect themselves. Green’s close call serves as a powerful reminder that scammers are constantly evolving their tactics to exploit unsuspecting victims. By staying informed, conducting thorough research, and verifying the legitimacy of job offers, individuals can mitigate the risk of falling prey to online job scams. As Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues, let us all be reminded of the importance of staying safe and secure in our digital endeavors.