Scam Alert: Phony Amazon job con asks applicants to pay upfront

Better Business Bureau warns you not to fall for work-from-home scam

work at home scam asks requests payment from applicants (David McNew/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It may sound like the perfect job: work at home, make thousands of dollars a month, and have a career with Amazon. But a new twist on an employment scam is fooling victims into paying hundreds of dollars for a job that doesn't exist, according to the Better Business Bureau.

How the scam works:

You get a voicemail message inviting you to apply for a job at Amazon. Supposedly, the online retailer is hiring dozens of people to list products on line, post reviews, and do other web work, BBB officials said the voicemail claims the position pays well - anywhere from $20/hour to $6,000/month - and you can work from home. Scammers are using the names Amazon Cash Website, StockRetail.com and WebStoreJobs.com.

BBB officials said many are excited about the opportunity, and fill out an application online. But there's a problem. According to the BBB Scam Tracker reports, new employees have to purchase a $200 "enrollment kit" before they can start work. If theypay up, the scammer will then vanish. The victims will be out the money and the jobs never materialize.

BBB officials say job seekers should beware and offered the following tips to spot scams while searching for work.

How to spot a job scam:

  • Be cautious of any job that asks you to share personal information or hand over money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit, or paying for training.
  • Check the business's website. Scammers frequently post jobs using the names of real companies such as Amazon to lend legitimacy to their cons. Check on the business's website for the position and/or call to confirm.
  • "Work at home at your own pace." Always be wary of work from home opportunities that are riddled with testimonials. Often, the suggestion of real success is misleading. Suggesting that few hours and limited work will make one successful is a red flag.
  • If a job looks suspicious, search for it online. If the result comes up in other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam. In this scam, a designated number of jobs are available and applicants need to act quickly. This high-pressure tactic is another red flag.

For more information about about scams, visit the BBB Scam Tips website.