Don’t fall for fake job scams, FBI warns; Here’s how to spot them

This is not a new scam, but it has now become a more lucrative one in our area.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you are looking for a job, FBI Jacksonville is warning about scammers posing as legitimate businesses to steal your money and personal information.

Top agencies fighting for consumers, like the FBI, FTC, and BBB, say scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19.

“We’ve actually seen fake employment scams really start to emerge around the beginning of the pandemic, and they’ve just continued on and on and on,” said FBI Jacksonville spokesperson Amanda Videll.

The FBI Jacksonville office reports that in 2020 they received 1,508 complaints of people falling victim to employment scams in Florida, reporting a total loss of $6,457,616.

In Jacksonville, 366 employment scams we’re reported, resulting in a loss of $431,899.

“They are spoofing legitimate company websites. They are posting on legitimate (sites) like LinkedIn and making it look like they have legitimate jobs right now,” said Videll.

The scammers will post bogus job listings, and when you go to apply, they ask you for your personal information, like your Social Security number for a background check, and your bank information to set up direct deposit.

“You have to do your research. You have to look up their website. You have to look up background on their company and ask a lot of questions,” said Videll.

The FBI said these are some ways to spot a fake employment scam:

  • If you are asked for your bank information before you are hired or are asked to use your personal bank account to transfer money, it’s likely not legit.
  • If you can’t confirm the identity of the person asking for sensitive information, don’t give it.
  • If you ask to meet in person or through a video chat and you are denied, that’s a red flag.
  • If you are ever asked to use your personal bank account to transfer money, it’s more than likely a scam.

In 2021 so far, FBI Jacksonville reports they’ve already received reports of employment scams resulting in the loss of more than $22,000.

If you believe you’ve encountered a scam, you are asked to report the incident to these agencies: